‘Offending’ Christian Article Removed From Ohio Air National Guard Newsletter

Ohio Air National Guard pdCOLUMBUS, Ohio — A faith-based article that centered on a military personnel’s personal testimony about how his faith in Christ keeps him grounded was recently removed from an Ohio Air National Guard newsletter after a fellow serviceman lodged a complaint about its “offending” content.

Col. Florencio Marquinez, the Commander of the Fighter Wing’s Medical Group, expressed his views in the September issue of “The Stinger” in an article entitled “Commander’s Comments: A Spiritual Journey as a Commander.”

“There have been many challenges and adversities along the way that really impacted my life,” he shared, after speaking about his appreciation for the Airman’s Creed. “It is my strong spiritual foundation that has kept the light shining on my path. I would not be the man I am today if isn’t wasn’t for my mother leading our whole family to Jesus Christ. Her creed to us five children growing up is God first in your life, then comes family and third, work.”

“My career both in the military and civilian world has brought many challenges and struggles, but one verse from the Bible that really helped me get through them is from Matthew 19:26, ‘With God, all things are possible,'” Marquinez continued. “So no matter how stressful your life can be with juggling family issues, relationships, career advancement, work, school or any burden that life throws your way, cast it upon the Lord and He will sustain you.”

He additionally noted that the national motto “In God We Trust” can essentially be found in the Scriptures, which urge men to trust in God.

But according to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an unidentified service member complained about Marquinez’ article, claiming that it was “odious” and “offending.” In response to the complaint, Commander Col. Craig R. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished without Marquinez’ piece.

ADF Legal Counsel Joseph La Rue wrote in a report on the matter on Friday that he believes Baker’s actions run counter to the Constitution because they amount to censorship.

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“[T]he government doesn’t get to tell us what we are allowed to say. Nor does it get to tell us what we are not allowed to say,” he outlined. “The Supreme Court has explained that, when the government allows discussion by others of certain topics in its publications, it is not allowed to impose restrictions that discriminate among viewpoints on those subjects. So, because the military allows discussions about ‘what has made your life better,’ ‘what helps you as you lead your troops,’ or secular psychological principles, it is not allowed to say that some answers are okay, while others aren’t.”

He said that Maquinez was simply sharing his life story, and that his views shouldn’t be forbidden just because they involve Christianity.

“Common sense tells us that it would be wrong, of course, for Col. Marquinez to order those under his command to attend church, or to follow Jesus. But that’s not what he did,” La Rue continued. “No: he merely said, Jesus has helped me, and if you have problems, you should consider letting Him help you, too. There’s nothing wrong or improper about that.”

“Col. Baker trampled Col. Marquienez’s First Amendment rights,” he concluded. “And in doing so, he tacitly sent a very dangerous message: if you’re a Christian, you can’t be a commander in the Ohio Air National Guard. Or, at the very least, you must keep your Christianity to yourself.”

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  • bowie1

    The complainant seems to have forgotten the opinions expressed were those of the individual and not necessarily that of the National Guard. The complainant could also share their viewpoint without censorship but should be refused if they don’t let others do likewise.

  • Gary

    The military is now run for the benefit of the sodomites, so this is not a surprise. Don’t join the military and try to get their funding cut.

  • dawnrosanne

    The Air National Guard commander who removed the article was wrong. He needs to put that article back in! Service people are entitled to their religious views, even if others find them offensive!

    • Jodie

      First, nobody finds his views offensive. Second, nobody is saying that he isn’t entitled to his religious views. Third, the commander who removed the article is not wrong. By promoting his religious views in an Air Force publication, Col. Marqinez violated the Air Force’s standard for government neutrality regarding religion.

  • MEP1101

    What are noble Christian men and women doing in our new “enlightened” Sodom And Gomorrah military anyway. 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18 tells Christians to “Get out from among them ( Christ Haters ) separate yourselves from them. We can’t serve in Christ’s army and the army of the Anti-Christ !

    • Erin Carol Ponzo

      I totally see your point. However God doesn’t want us to give up either. If all Christians did as you say we would fully be in the hands of the Antichrist. God says to do everything we do FOR him alone. If We were to be fully governed and protected by Antichristians what would our circumstances be like? This world is in a spiritual battle, agreed? So we need to defend our people whether we agree with the militaries position or not. Even if that means we have to even stand up to them to prevail righteousness.

      • Ruth1940

        “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
        ― Susan B. Anthony

        • Erin Carol Ponzo

          So if that is your view of my comment then do you disagree that we as Christians and Americans should not stand for righteousness and justice in the name of God because it wouldn’t be the will of God but for our own selfish desires? We certainly can claim the will of God as long as it is outlined in his Word; clear and precise! And the Word tells us to stand for justice and righteousness on behalf of the weak and defenseless. That is Gods will whether you or Susan B. Anthony agrees or not.

          • Ruth1940

            You may believe whatever you want and so may others. We are a country of laws – that is what unifies us. Ethics of Reciprocity is included in all the major religions because that is what works in society. It works for the none-religious as well.

            The reason for our Constitution’s separation of religion and government is because people disagree on that and tend to fight about it. If it were not so the Constitution would surely mention a deity or deities.

    • Jamie Darnell

      What is anyone that believes in the 10 commandments, doing in taking part of senseless killing.

      • bowie1

        I thought it was about defending the country against a hostile enemy as opposed to being an aggressor who only wants to kill and destroy wantonly.

  • Jud Bennett

    This was unnecessary censorship but, as this was an internal military issue, they will do what they want.

    Many people don’t realize that when one is active duty military, there is a major change in what rights you do and don’t have. The right to privacy, for one, is gone. They can search one’s locker (if one is in a barracks), or domicile anytime they wish and take away whatever they feel one shouldn’t have. The right to free speech disappears as one’s words can be censored by those in command for any reason.

  • David Hitzfelder

    Why should those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord be offended? If He is not who we say He is, and we are not coercing anyone into worshiping him, then there is no issue. If someone were to publish a personal statement about the impact of Islam or Allah on his life, it would grieve me that he is deceived, but I would not be offended. Similarly, if an atheist were to publish an article about the freedom he has in atheism,

    it would grieve me that in his foolish arrogance he stands condemned, but I would not be offended.

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      Because the Air Force code of standards prohibits a commanding officer from promoting- not just requiring- a personal religious position.

  • jmichael39

    This is getting way out of hand. Are we living in the new Roman Empire where the emperor feels he needs to destroy this crazy Christianity before it infects the empire?

    • Sha-wei

      Friend, do you realize how profoundly eschatological and prescient your rhetorical question is (if that is how you intended it)? For the pendulum of history swings back on itself yet again, and as things were, so shall they be again, but in reverse. Blessings.

  • Erin Carol Ponzo

    You know as ironic as it is to say this…they need to grow a back bone. Since when is it the military’s position to cater to the rights of one party but deny another’s? Have we not fought enough for the right to worship and praise our God? We are loosing that right swiftly. We are one nation under God, yet no longer indivisible.

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      The “one nation under god” schtick was added in the 50s during the Red Scare. We’re not a Christian nation- we are a secular democratic republic.

      And no one is taking away anyone’s right to worship- we are protecting the rights of EVERY position and preventing the government from endorsing any one, as per the Constitution.

      Since the article violates Air Force code of conduct 2.11, it should have been removed. A commanding officer can not use his position to promote any religious belief.

      • Erin Carol Ponzo

        Anyone with the moral compass to believe ‘I am her bitch’ does not have a business discussing what the moral compass of our nation should or should not be. I hope you find purpose and room for Christ in your life.

      • David Hansen

        Sarah, Were you hit in the head with a Bible? You sure seem to have a bur under your saddle. There have been many cases of Christians being arrested in the USA because of Christian beliefs. There is a blog which gives some details. true2ourselves.com/standupforJesus I know the suthor and I think he’s fair. Oh, that’s me

  • Irene Howard

    wow One hater objects and the free speech of another is taken away…..the hater should have more tolerance for other people’s opinions and beliefs…he didnt have to read the article,, just like they tell the Christians to turn off the TV when we object to their shows..

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      It’s not “one hater” or an issue of free speech- the article violates the Airforce standards of conduct 2.11.

      • Irene Howard

        I stand by my comment If the reverse were true the soldier would be told to suck it up and have an activist group backing him

      • Irene Howard

        Explain to me how writing a article about how God and his faith is bad behavior.. or bad conduct…is it the same as fighting or killing a fellow service member…disrespecting the flag? going AWOL? spouting conduct code numbers mean nothing and doesnt make your case

  • DeEtta Meirose Saunders

    A case of one complaint changing everything. One complaint does not constitute a majority. Leave the article in the paper. Who cares if it offends one person, how many more does it help. He has a right to write whatever he likes and especially when it encourages others.

    • Jodie

      The fact that it encourages others is why it violates the Air Force Standards Religious Neutrality Clause.

  • Linda

    Are you kidding me. Odious? The truth about the Savior. How can that be odious to anyone but someone possessed by the enemy to mankind. How can a beautiful message of strength in Christ in a time of trouble be offensive. I say, keep the message in. If the other person, and I might add, one person, is offended, then he needs to look elsewhere for his news. Let us all, as a Christian nation, bend our knees before the true God. Let us repent for our sins, and thank Him for His Son.

    • Krauss Allie

      >>then he needs to look elsewhere for his news<<

      Yes Linda, surely the Ohio Air National Guardsman should get his Ohio
      Air National Guard related news from a source other than the Ohio Air
      National Guard Newsletter. Do you even bother thinking before you

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      We are not now nor have we ever been a “Christian nation”. The United States is a secular democratic republic. Theocracies are nothing but oppressive dictatorships.

  • Les Healy

    Matt 11 v6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me…;)

  • Today, we need a REAL and TRUE basis in our life… If we cast out of our souls this REAL BASIS, than lie came and intruder in our souls, like islamic system… One man brave and strong who talk about the REAL FAITH who was USA’s history, and so much honored by GOD because building this nation upon HIS WORD, and make every man and woman and childrens in his FREEDOM FEELINGS, this man is a great in our days, and necessary too… God bless everyone who belong HIM and love HIM and receive from HIM, HIS GRACE…

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      This nation was built as a secular democratic republic by a bunch of Deists influenced by the secular Enlightenment Movement in Europe- many of whom openly disdained Christianity.

      Perhaps you should learn actual history.

      • Hello Sarah and thank you for your words. Really the majority of USA are not in real BIBLICAL basis. There are greats results under FREEDOM, your life are under freedom, and this is result by principles in BIBLE. Not in religion. Deists but not people who know GOD is a great sick in our countries. For this, many others structures disformes in many minds are be building. And when many people look at this and they dont know what they can do for create a good convivence and many people in this society produce some kind of acritical minds about the high and deep structures in humanity, the own humanity make himself in slavery and make slave others by his own disformes creeds, upon others who have a empty creed. Not only this, but this kind of faith, carry people to do everything, not only make the right thing… Gos bless you…

  • Cat2727

    Every time I go to the grocery store and see women in burkas I find such grossly offensive, but recognize their right to dress as they please.
    Whoever was offended needs to be an adult. The powers-that-be don’t need to encourage this kind of moronic mentality by giving in to it.
    I’m ~offended~ that the believer’s expression of his faith was removed….

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      It’s not about him believing as he pleases. It’s about him violating the Religious Neutrality clause of the Standards of Conduct of the Air Force by using his position as a commanding officer to promote his religion.

      Funny, but I’m sure you’d feel differently if the commanding officer was promoting Islam or Hinduism or atheism.

  • Peter Castle

    The war on Christians continues!

    • Jodie

      Religious Neutrality is not a war of Christians.

  • milwaukeeprogressiveexaminer

    If this chaplain was talking about his belief and faith in Islam, in a newsletter paid for by tax-dollars, I hardly believe he would be defended very much, in fact, some would probably be stating he was imposing Sharia law. Can an atheist private just as easily get a column in this newsletter and talk about his atheism? OF course not. I doubt that would ever be published.

  • Jodie

    From Section 2.11 of the Air Force Standards: “Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. For example, they must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.” – Must avoid apparent use of position to promote personal religious beliefs to subordinates.

  • alnga

    The Hate against Christians fits into that category called a “hate” crime.. All though I believe there is a level of hate in all crime and I would not really want to claim this as such, but we need a defense. Lets pray that this road that we are on smooths out real soon.

    • Sarah Jones Geer

      It is not hate against Christians to follow the Constitution by not allowing Christians special privileges over other positions. The article violates the Religious neutrality clause in the Air Force standards of conduct- end of story.

      • David Hansen

        Sarah, Separation of Church and State is NOT in the Constitution. The phrase, wall of separation, comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1805, not from the Constitution

    • LinCA

      Persecution complex much?

      Your religion is but one of many, and everyone has the exact same right to freedom of religion as those that hold the majority.

      The proselytizing by the Commander belongs in the church bulletin, or on his personal blog or social media pages. In the National Guard newsletter, it is an assault on the religious freedoms of the people under his command.

  • Krauss Allie

    So, you got a problem with it?!? Take it up with the government, but it
    shouldn’t have taken a atheist’s complaint to have it removed, it
    clearly should have never been published in the first place. The Air
    Force Standards could not be more clear on this!

    From Section 2.11 of the Air Force Standards: “Leaders at all levels
    must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free
    exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional
    prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. For example,
    they must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote
    their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend
    preferential treatment for any religion.” – Must avoid apparent use of
    position to promote personal religious beliefs to subordinates.

    Thanks Jodie!

    • Jodie

      Me? You’re welcome!

  • Sarah Jones Geer

    The gentleman who removed the article was absolutely correct. Section 2.11 of the Air Force standards expressly forbids just what he wrote: “Government Neutrality Regarding Religion. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. For example, they must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion. Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity. The potential result is a degradation of the unit’s morale, good order, and discipline.”

    Maquinez, by deliberately saying that Airmen who were troubled should consider turning to “Jesus”, was promoting his personal religious beliefs. How many of his subordinates would feel pressure to hide non-Christian views for fear of being passed over for promotions or other such reprisals?

    And how would all the Christians feel if this exact same article was written by a Muslim?