In The Military

Liberty Institute Defends Airman Persecuted for His Faith

Posted October 12th, 2013

When the U.S. Air Force discriminated against Air Force veteran Phillip Monk because of his religious beliefs, Liberty Institute stepped in.

At Issue: Religious Discrimination in the U.S. Military
Case Status: Closed 

The Big Picture
Since when George Washington commanded the Continental Army, religion has been an important tradition in the U.S military. Today, that tradition is under attack by radical groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the ACLU, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Even our own federal government is playing a role in censoring the religious freedom of our brave service men and women.

Why this Case Matters
The case of Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk serves as a chilling reminder of just how bad things have become, and why it is so important that we take a stand and fight back. If someone like SMSgt Monk can lose his religious liberty and his career because of what he believes, then all Americans are at grave risk.

The Facts

  • Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served as a First Sergeant at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
  • In early 2013, Monk returned from deployment and found he had a new commander who was an open lesbian.
  • Monk was asked to advise his commander on a disciplinary matter involving an Air Force instructor who was accused of making objectionable comments about same-sex marriage.
  • After a thorough investigation, Monk determined the instructor meant no harm by his comments, and suggested they use the incident as a way to teach about tolerance and diversity.
  • Monk, a devout evangelical Christian, was told that he wasn’t on the same page as the commander, and that “if he didn’t get on the same page, they would find another place for him to work.”
  • Later, the commander ordered Monk to answer the question of whether people who object to gay marriage are discriminating. Monk said he could not answer the way she wanted.
  • At that point, Monk was relieved of his duties.
  • He was also told he was “no longer allowed to be physically present” in the building or facilities in which he previously served.
  • In August 2013, Liberty Institute stepped in and filed a formal complaint with the military on behalf of SMSgt Monk.
  • During a meeting following the formal complaint filing, Air Force investigators abruptly read Monk his Miranda rights, accusing him of making false statements.
  • In October, Monk was cleared of the accusation of making false statements.
  • The investigation into Monk’s complaint is still ongoing. After 19 years in the Air Force, Phillip Monk’s entire career has been threatened by discrimination based solely on his personal religious beliefs.

What You Can Do
Sadly, SMSgt Monk’s case is but one example of the growing hostility toward religion in our armed forces and American society in general. The good news is that Liberty Institute is here to protect the constitutional rights of those who bravely serve our country. We will not be intimidated and we will not back down.

We have a more than 90% win rate, and we have a team of full-time constitutional attorneys that work with some of the top litigators in the country who volunteer their time to help advance the mission of defending our nation’s first freedom.

Please consider a gift today, for SMSgt Monk, for all members of the military, and for every American who cherishes their First Freedom.


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