Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson has announced that Col Leland Bohannon was wrongly punished last October after he expressed religious objections to affirming homosexuality. Explaining the results of the Air Force Review Board, which had received Col Bohannon’s appeal, Secretary Wilson said (PDF) [emphasis added]
The Director concluded that Colonel Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same sex spouse of an Airman in his command.
The Air Force has a duty to treat people fairly and without discrimination… and met that duty by having a more senior officer sign the certificate.
That’s a clear win for religious liberty. The Air Force has proactively Read more
UPDATE: This topic must have hit close to the mark, as Tom Carpenter is a bit upset. Still, based on his inspiration, consider using #GivingTuesday (or any day) to support First Liberty, the non-profit organization currently working in Col Bohannon’s defense.
Tom Carpenter’s Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — which was founded to support the repeal of DADT — recently shared on Facebook Col Bohannon’s story as covered at Military.com. The response from his supporters was predictable — yet still shocking.
LtCol Elisa/Victor Valenzuela — an Air Force active duty homosexual-turned-transgender presumably threatened by President Trump’s policies — asked, apparently sincerely, if Col Bohannon would let his homosexual troops die.
Victor Michael Valenzuela So if he was in a war zone and a gay man came under fire, would the Col be exempt from helping him because of his religious bias? This is a serious question. We are in the military and as leaders, we advocate for all.
That’s moronic, but completely predictable. Amazingly, the homosexual Read more
US Army SFC Timothy Seppala is a Religious Affairs Specialist, otherwise known as a chaplain’s assistant. He recently wrote a few articles about the chaplaincy and one on “Reconciling your Morality: Finding the Common Ground.”
The article begins with a fairly reassuring statement that morality is “highly objective”, but it soon becomes clear SFC Seppala meant the other word [emphasis added]:
The truth is that morality can come from almost anywhere and is something that is unique to each individual.
As you can imagine, having so many sources of morality leads to many different views on what is right and wrong.
In other words, Seppala mean to say morality is subjective, not objective. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of the article on morality.
Seppala goes on to note that social issues divide society — and the US military reflects the society from which it is drawn, even on issues of morality [emphasis added]: Read more
People for the American Way, a politically left-wing/liberal organization, recently criticized a Family Research Council email that cited attacks on military religious freedom. PFAW’s complaint was that the stories FRC’s President Tony Perkins cited were, in their words, “easily debunked.”
As evidence, they linked to other online articles that did not debunk FRC’s stories.
For example, PFAW linked to an Americans United article that claimed Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn was not, in fact, sanctioned for discussion of his faith. But he indisputably was given paperwork for mentioning his faith, and the AU article doesn’t actually “debunk” the claim — it only criticizes the claim, without detracting from those facts.
PFAW similarly linked to another left-wing site that criticized Navy Chaplain Wes Modder, who was nearly run out of the Navy. The linked article cited the Navy commander’s initial accusations as fact — and neither that site nor PFAW bothered to mention that the Navy ultimately denied the attempt to kick Chaplain Modder out. In oversimplified terms, the complaint was invalidated. The linked article also quoted Read more
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 Read more
A religious freedom rally hosted by GOP Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz last week in Iowa was focused largely on businesses who were sued or driven out of business by homosexual activists intent on forcing others to support their lifestyle choices.
However, there were two notable inclusions whose antagonist was actually the US government:
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was fired for his views in what Dr. Al Mohler said was evidence of “erotic liberty” superseding religious liberty; and Read more
An Air Force investigation was initiated after SMSgt Philip Monk filed a complaint of religious discrimination, claiming he was relieved and reassigned earlier than planned after a conversation with his commanding officer, Maj Elisa Valenzuela. The Air Force issued a press release about the investigation, saying the charges of religious discrimination were not substantiated:
The investigation, initiated Aug. 15 by Col. Mark Camerer, 37th Training Wing commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, found the claim unsubstantiated…
“The weight of the evidence shows that religion was never discussed between the two,” Camerer said in an Air Education and Training Command release.
“In the end, this is a case about command authority, good order and discipline, and civil rights — not religious freedoms,” he said.
Interestingly, no one ever publicly claimed “religion was…discussed between the two,” but it raises the question as to whether one must explicitly voice a religious belief for it to be actionable. The investigation also made an interesting comment about the statements at the heart of the controversy [emphasis added]: Read more