Eglin AFB Allows Civilians to Display Duck Dynasty Stickers
As reported at FoxNews, the union representing civilian employees at Eglin Air Force Base demanded the removal of two “senior management officials” because they displayed “I Support Phil” stickers.
Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said one of the officials also displayed the “I Support Phil” decals in his office last month and offered them to subordinates.
“The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display the decal on their pod,” read an email Cooper wrote.
“We took offense,” Cooper told me in a telephone interview. “These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American – and we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions.”
The union leader clearly felt that people who shared values — importantly, not took actions — with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson should not be in leadership positions [emphasis added]:
Cooper told me he wants the two civilian managers at the Air Force base removed from their positions.
“I don’t know how long these individuals harbored these views – could they have impacted employment opportunities for folks that have been disparaged by the likes of a Phil Robertson,” he said.
The Air Force disagreed:
“Brigadier General Dave Harris is not taking any action against the individual as the display of such a bumper sticker is considered legally protected speech under the First Amendment,” said Andy Bourland, director of public affairs at the military base.
For those less versed on the Duck Dynasty controversy, Phil Robertson was loudly criticized for quoting the Bible in the context of expressing his religious beliefs — and in a congenial way, no less.
It is noteworthy that Cooper and others like him — particular some homosexual advocates and critics of Christianity — advocate the position that Christians who hold traditional beliefs about sexuality and marriage are categorically unqualified for positions of leadership. Note that they are not claiming anyone has discriminated against anyone else. These critics are only claiming that because of these Christians’ beliefs they should not be allowed to lead.
In the case of these civilians, the Air Force didn’t actually address the leadership issue. General Harris said only that their conduct was consistent with the First Amendment.
Notably, there have been several instances of US military members who have expressed their opinions and religious beliefs on those same subjects being threatened with punishment. In that regard, it would have been interesting to see how the Air Force would have responded if the two individuals had been uniformed military — and Cooper had been replaced by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.