Air Force SNCO Claims Firing over Religion

Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk of the 37th Training Wing at Lackland AFB, TX, says he was “relieved of his position” because he did not agree with his homosexual commander about “gay marriage.”

The Air Force disagrees, and says it was just his time to move on.

As depicted, there may be validity to both sides as to whether or not he was “fired,” but that discussion detracts from the actual issue.

Monk, an evangelical Christian, said the issue came up when he was advising his company commander about a situation involving a staff sergeant who had expressed opposition to homosexuality on religious grounds — an opinion shared with trainees that might be a violation of an Air Force policy barring the use of a position of authority to promote personal religious beliefs.

Monk had said the situation called for a teachable moment about tolerance and diversity; he said his commander indicated “we need to lop off the head of this guy” because his words were “discrimination.”  The staff sergeant ultimately received a Letter of Counseling.

The issue escalated when Monk said he was forced into a position of agreeing that opposition to homosexuality was discrimination:

Monk said it was a “very, very contentious” discussion, with the commander pressing him to agree that opposition to gay marriage was an act of discrimination. Monk said he told her: “I cannot answer your question because of my convictions.”

Monk apparently declined to answer because he’d seen how the commander reacted to what the younger troop did.  He apparently also knew his commander had

once referred to a base chaplain as a “bigot” because he preaches that homosexuality is a sin.

As the story conveys, the greater issue is whether Air Force policy allows an Airman to express his religious views, including the opposition to homosexuality.  As has been previously stated, the DoD had said no one would be forced to change their beliefs about homosexuality, nor would it become a protected class.

Yet an Airman reportedly received an LOC for sharing that view.

The Family Research Council published a release noting “no Air Force policy requires support for homosexual marriage” and highlighted this very point:

According to the 2010 report of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) on repeal, repeal was intended to move the military from a negative position on homosexuality to an officially neutral one — but not to one in which sexual orientation would become a protected category…   On the other hand, the CRWG noted the fears of some Service members that repeal “might limit their individual freedom of expression and free exercise of religion, or require them to change their personal beliefs about the morality of homosexuality.”

The Pentagon sought to assuage those fears by preserving “existing policies regarding individual expression and free exercise of religion,” noting explicitly, “Service members will not be required to change their personal views and religious beliefs…”   The 2010 Congressional vote repealing the 1993 was premised upon these assurances — even though FRC and other pro-family groups warned at the time that they could not be relied upon. We predicted that pro-homosexual activists would demand that only pro-homosexual viewpoints be allowed in the military, and those predictions are now coming true.

A few critics have claimed that Monk, as the unit First Sergeant, was unqualified to “represent all” of his Airmen because of his views on homosexuality. Those critics have not expressed similar
concerns about the commander’s ability to “represent all” based on her views on homosexuality.  In fact, as conveyed by SMSgt Monk, the commander’s attitude toward the chaplain seems to indicate he believed she’d created a toxic environment [emphasis added]:

“In one of our first meetings, she was talking about her promotion and she mentioned something about a benediction,” Monk told Fox News. “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.”

“She then said, ‘I don’t know what kind of people actually believe that kind of crap,’” Monk said, recalling the meeting. “I knew I was going to have a rough time in this unit and I would have to be very careful what I said.”