Dr. B. graduated from medical school with his tuition paid by the U.S. military, and was therefore obligated to serve in the military. As a Muslim whose religion prohibits shaving, he wore a beard during medical school. However, upon becoming a military officer and beginning his residency at a military hospital, regulations required him to shave. We believed he had a good claim for accommodation under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion” unless it demonstrates that the burden “(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” We assisted him in requesting a religious waiver from the Pentagon, which was granted for the duration of his residency.
May 1, 2009