Air Force Investigates Claim of Religious Discrimination

The Stars and Stripes reports the Air Force has launched an investigation at Lackland Air Force Base to determine if Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk was a victim of religious discrimination. Monk had claimed he was essentially “fired” by his commander for his religious views.

Training wing spokeswoman Colleen McGee said…the Air Force has launched an investigation into Monk’s claims, to determine if any command violations may have occurred.

Notably, the Liberty Institute — a part of the Military Religious Freedom coalition — stepped up to publicly defend Monk.  Michael Weinstein’s Military “religious freedom” Foundation has stayed noticeably silent.  (Weinstein defends only religious beliefs he judges to be acceptable, and Monk’s religious faith apparently doesn’t rate.)

The Stripes article makes a point of highlighting a part of AFI 1-1 that has been frequently omitted by some critics:

Air Force regulations state that servicemembers “should confidently practice your own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own.” The also mandate that commanders ensure that “requests for religious accommodation are dealt with fairly.”

It appears SMSgt Monk has filed an Equal Opportunity complaint and an application for “redress,” which would be the first step in a UCMJ Article 138 complaint against his commander.