Homosexual Air Force Officer Criticizes Former Christian Subordinate
As previously noted, retired SMSgt Phillip Monk recently appeared at a religious freedom forum for GOP presidential candidate and US Senator Ted Cruz (video here). SMSgt Monk spoke briefly about his experience of discrimination in the military as a result of the conflict between homosexuality and religious faith.
SMSgt Monk’s story was criticized on a Facebook page called “Team Perry,” which cited an official military investigation to claim his allegations were “nonsense.” The raison d’être of the “Team Perry” page is to defend former Lackland AFB squadron commander LtCol Craig Perry: Perry was fired under controversial circumstances last year, and the posts on the page claim to reveal details proving the Air Force treated him unjustly (despite military investigations and reports to the contrary). It took a surprising degree of intellectual inconsistency (or simple hypocrisy), then, for Team Perry to cite an Air Force investigation to criticize Monk while simultaneously claiming similar investigations were unjust when they dealt with Perry.
That Monk’s story would be criticized on the Team Perry page may seem odd until you realize Perry and Monk were stationed at Lackland AFB together. Further, it turns out LtCol Craig Perry was fast friends with then-fellow squadron commander then-Maj Elisa “Liz” Valenzuela, SMSgt Monk’s commander and the target of his complaints.
There’s nothing wrong with them being friends. But clearly Team Perry is judging SMSgt Monk not just on public reports or even insider information, but also from the viewpoint of a close family friend of his ‘antagonist.’
As if to prove the point, now-LtCol Valenzuela is a participant on the Team Perry page and weighed in on SMSgt Monk’s role in the Ted Cruz video:
He was found to have lied and now he is not in the Air Force any longer
She doesn’t specify, but presumably Valenzuela accused Monk of being a liar for saying he was ‘fired’ and reassigned over a conflict with her regarding homosexuality and religious beliefs. While she may contest his characterization, she failed to provided evidence it was a lie. For its part, the Team Perry page implicitly admitted Monk’s story was true, saying Monk’s assignment cycle was, indeed, changed because of the conflict between Valenzuela and Monk.
And that was just the beginning.
The next day, LtCol Elisa “Liz” Valenzuela took to Slate.com to publicly rebut the Ted Cruz campaign video. Her interview was entitled “A Lesbian Officer Maligned in Ted Cruz’s Religious Liberty Ad Tells Her Side of the Story,” though it was originally called “Ted Cruz’s Religious Liberty Poster Boy Lied about Christian Persecution.” Apparently “maligned lesbian” garners more web hits than “Christian persecution.”
Once again, Valenzuela used the forum to explicity call Monk a liar [emphasis added]:
I believe Ted Cruz believes Monk is telling the truth. He doesn’t realize that Monk lied—a lot. Hopefully, if Ted Cruz actually knew that Monk lied, he would not have used him…
That’s an astounding accusation from an Air Force officer against a retired Senior NCO — especially because she provides no evidence to support her accusation. Worse, she implied there was evidence, which she didn’t provide [emphasis added]:
[The Air Force] launched an investigation and cleared me. They found him guilty of lying.
That assertion of “fact” doesn’t appear to be supported by public information. Monk was investigated for making false official statements. The result of the investigation was the allegation was “unsubstantiated,” meaning the investigator could not find sufficient evidence to support the accusation. The investigation, then, did not find him “guilty of lying.” The Air Force subsequently published a press release — not an investigation report — saying Monk made statements that were “false,” but it portrayed them as being ‘incorrect,’ saying they did not “rise to a level” that violated the UCMJ — meaning the Air Force concluded Monk had no intent to deceive and he believed his statements to be true.
In other words, despite Valenzuela’s staunch accusation, officially, the Air Force “found [Monk] guilty” of nothing.
But there was more, as Valenzuela raised the stakes in the ‘religion/homosexuality’ conflict by citing her own religious faith:
My family, we are Christian as well. We bow our head to pray for dinner. We hold hands and we pray together. It blows my mind that people took Monk at his word. That’s not a Christian thing to do–bearing false witness to your neighbors.
To recap: A proud, open homosexual claims to be a Christian — and then criticizes someone else for not being a ‘good Christian’.
From the Christian perspective, something about planks and specks comes to mind.
For the record, there is no indication SMSgt Monk ever made a negative comment about homosexuality while he was in the military (or since). On the other hand, LtCol Valenzuela allegedly denigrated the religious beliefs of her fellow Airmen in the presence of her subordinates, including calling a chaplain a “bigot” for his views on homosexuality.
SMSgt Monk is retired. His conduct is, for the most part, outside of the Air Force’s concern. On the other hand, how Air Force officers treat fellow Airmen who do not share their beliefs is of direct concern to the Air Force.
Activists once claimed the integration of openly homosexual service members in the military would be a “non-event.” Years after the repeal of DADT, it seems likely even LtCol Valenzuela would say that statement doesn’t ring true.