An American soldier who worships Thor, the Scandinavian god of thunder, was allowed by the army to keep his beard. In 2017 it was decided that soldiers could now continue to follow their beliefs while on duty. It will become more and more common to see American soldiers with a beard, a turban or a hijab for religious reasons.
‘Out of respect for your pagan faith, you can wear a beard while respecting the army's standards of hygiene for soldiers,’ said Colonel Curtis Shroedero on Facebook, while not mentioning the name of the soldier in question. This statement was confirmed by an official spokesperson for the army at the Army Times newspaper.
The law prohibiting soldiers from wearing a beard dates back to the First World War, a time when beards were considered to restrict the proper wearing of gas masks. The new measure is however not unanimous since Major John Troxell has repeatedly asserted that beards are a distraction, and "an accessory".