SAN ANTONIO – A Christian Air Force Veteran has been relieved of his duties after declining to affirm homosexual marriage.
Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk has served in the Air Force for 19 years, and has been stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. When he recently returned from deployment, he found that he had a new commander, who was a lesbian.
Monk says that in his early communication with the commander, he knew there would be concerns.
“She said she wanted a chaplain but objected to one particular chaplain that she called a ‘bigot’ because he preached that homosexuality is a sin,” he explained to reporters. “She then said, ‘I don’t know what kind of people actually believe that kind of cr**.’ I knew I was going to have a rough time in this unit and I would have to be very careful about what I said.”
Monk was later asked to advise the commander regarding a disciplinary matter involving an Air Force instructor who had expressed his disagreement with homosexual “marriage” in a written presentation.
“Her very first reaction was to say, ‘We need to lop off the head of this guy,’” he recalled. “The commander took the position that his speech was discrimination.”
However, when Monk read the words at issue, he believed that the instructor had not done anything wrong.
“He was trying to essentially say [that] despite our differences, it’s the Air Force core values that unite us, and in that process he made some sort of statement about, ‘I don’t believe in same-sex marriage, but it doesn’t matter. I’m going to train you the same anyway,’” he explained.
But the commander told Monk that he needed to be on the same page as she was, and that if he didn’t do so, he would be moved elsewhere. She then questioned him on whether he believes it is discrimination for a person to state that they disagree with homosexual “marriage.” He replied that he did not wish to answer because of his convictions.
Monk was then relieved of his duties because he would not affirm the commander’s beliefs.
The Liberty Institute, a Christian legal organization in Plano, Texas, is now representing Monk. Attorney Hiram Sasser told reporters that he believes that while homosexuals are coming out of the closet in the military, Christians are getting shoved into it.
“Are we going to have a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for Christians so we don’t get harassed for our beliefs?” he asked. “Here’s a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He shouldn’t have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve.”
Co-counsel Kelly Shackelford told FOX News that the commander’s actions were unlawful.
“What happened here to Sergeant Monk is a violation of Air Force policy; it’s a violation of DOD policy; it’s a violation of the Constitution,” he said. “Our soldiers deserve a lot better. They’ve given service for us to protect [our] freedoms, so I think the least we can do is to stand with them when they are under attack.”