Just as in the past couple of years, issues of military religious freedom have generally been incorporated in larger societal issues in most groups’ “top ten” civil/religious liberty issues for the year.
For example, Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause noted the “transgender rights” stories at #3 without specifically mentioning the (substantial) military side to that story. That said, at #6 he included the “battle over religious displays” and specifically included “Latin crosses as part of veterans’ memorials”.
The Baptist Joint Committee, a politically left-leaning group, included the controversy over the Russell Amendment to the 2017 NDAA at #6. (The BJC opposed the proposed legislation.)
Some other notable but unmentioned events from the year include lawsuits filed and exemptions granted for Sikhs in the military, the national discussion over Bible verses posted by court-martialed Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling, or the Air Force reconsidering its policies after retired Air Force SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez was thrown out of a ceremony while reciting a religiously-tinged flag-folding script.
With that in mind, the most read articles from 2016 on ChristianFighterPilot.com Read more
The Air Force Inspector General released its report (PDF here) on the incident involving retired USAF SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez in April. Rodriguez was invited to the retirement of fellow SNCO Chuck Roberson to give a narration during the flag-folding. When he rose to do so, several uniformed SNCOs physically through Rodriguez out of the building.
The IG was apparently tasked by none other than the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (she responding to a demand by Senator John McCain) to conduct the investigation — though they were apparently only tasked to investigate the “facts and circumstances”, not any specific allegation:
The 23 Jun 16 SAF/IG tasking order specifically directs the Investigation Office to, “…conduct an inquiry into the facts and circumstances surrounding the event; the governing laws, regulations, and policies and how they were applied.”
The IG ultimately concluded the decision to eject Rodriguez from the ceremony was Read more
The Air Force has backpedaled mightily over the apparent assault on retired SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez a few months ago during a retirement ceremony. The motivation for the three NCOs involved in the incident was allegedly to prevent him from saying “God” during a flag-folding ceremony for the retiree. Initially, Public Affairs at Travis AFB said
“Rodriguez ignored numerous requests to respect the Air Force prescribed ceremony and unfortunately was forcibly removed,” a Travis official said…
However, faced with a threat of a lawsuit, Big Air Force eventually rolled in and said Airmen can Read more
In response to demands made by the First Liberty Institute regarding military religious freedom, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James has reportedly instructed the Air Force Inspector General to review the incidents surrounding the forcible ejection of retired USAF SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez from a retirement ceremony.
In a statement that has been repeated Read more
Retired US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez was physically ejected from a fellow Airman’s retirement ceremony — to which he had been invited — when he began a flag-folding speech in which it was known he would invoke the name of God (as previously discussed).
With the assistance of the First Liberty Institute, SMSgt Rodriguez is now threatening legal action if the Air Force doesn’t respond. In the letter (PDF) written by First Liberty attorney Mike Berry, Rodriguez seeks four things: Read more
In a drama that can only be described as tragic and embarrassing, US Air Force NCOs physically tossed retired Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez out of a Travis AFB retirement ceremony (and the building in which it was being conducted) — even after the retiree, Chuck Roberson, had invited him to narrate his retirement flag ceremony. The video, made public first at John Q. Public and since repeated at FoxNews, is at once disturbing and enraging.
Retired LtCol Tony Carr does a decent job of hammering the shameful and inappropriate mistreatment of the retired SMSgt. What was interesting, though, was the Air Force’s official response. As quoted Read more