”….The question is: Should religion be allowed into the army? How? To what extent? If not, why?”
As was already mentioned above, religion is already in the military. Matter of fact, the United States Army Chaplain Corp has been active since July 29, 1775. A chaplain’s purpose is to offer religious services, counseling and moral support to the armed forces.
Just because a person makes the decision to join the armed forces (or in cases in the past, drafted into service) does not mean they lose their right to religious freedom. They still have the right to pursue their religious beliefs. There are even those faiths that are exempt from ever being drafted due to the fact that their religious beliefs does not allow them to participate and they are documented as Conscientious Objectors. If you were to remove all religion from the military, you would then be forced to disregard those that are Conscientious Objectors.
But I digress.
Religion is a deeply personal matter. To try and dictate that service to your country denies you the right to your own religious beliefs is akin to trying to dictate that everyone in the country has to follow the same religion. (Check history - that stance didn’t work so well for countries like France and England.)
The how of your question doesn’t make sense. Are you thinking it should be restructured? I think it is perfect, or as close as it can be, right now. The US is acknowledging other faiths beyond the Abrahamic faiths, they are allowing soldiers to have “alternate” religions on their dog tags and, as was pointed out above, there are now headstones with the pentagram in Arlington. It seems logical that this step is being taken to recognize that some religions require certain things (beards, turbans) and that some feel it is necessary to keep religious jewelry on their body.
Of course, if you read the article, it states that this is not going to be a “ok, yep - if it’s your religion you’re good to go.” The person has to be given permission from his/her command to allow them - and in some cases the company commander may kick it higher up the chain if he/she feels the need to.
I do not see this as a controversy. It makes sense - as long as it doesn’t interfere with the proper function of equipment and protective clothing, it doesn’t cause a problem with unit cohesion and the needs of the mission accomplishment are not put at risk.