Air Force Cracking Down on Christians

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Bravo, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Bravo

    Bravo Member

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  2. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    This jumped out at me:
    As a 19 year veteran, he would know that any investigator would advise him of his rights and have him sign a rights waiver before continuing the investigation.
     
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Sounds like there is a lot more to the story than was published.

    Being removed from a job for expressing a personal opinion on homosexuality sounds like a pretty open and shut IG case to me. So, I expect there are details we don't have that make the situation a bit more complicated than was written.
     
  4. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    I would recommend finding additional sources about this issue, if possible. Fox News seemed a little "heavy handed" in their take on this case, as there is MUCH more involved than "religious persecution" here, and I get a little tired Fox's continual efforts to decry just how "downtrodden" the Christian community is.
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    This x 1000.
     
  6. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    How about following established policy? That seems a pretty important thing for a 1st Shirt to be doing in his leadership role, don't you think? If he's not comfortable doing that, regardless of his reasons, his Commander has every right to remove him from that leadership role.
     
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Don't sign the waiver at any time! Ask for any and all representation available.
     
  8. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Todd Starnes has written a lot about SMSgt Monk and his commander...easy to research if you want to get his side of the story.

    IF it is all "as he reports" then it's really a very disturbing turn in the service. But like others have opined...there's an agenda here; on several levels, and I wonder where the "real truth" lies.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  9. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    Here's a link to a news, not opinion, piece discussing the original allegations. Even just this relatively bare bones story makes it clear that the original situation may have been significantly more nuanced than depicted in the Fox opinion piece. For example, the AF Times reports that according to the AF, Monk was not removed from duty but was due for re-assignment. The AF further states that the re-assignment was in the ordinary course to a position that, per the AF Times, Monk concedes was consistent with his rank and experience.

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/articl...1/AF-sgt-claims-he-fired-religious-views-gays

    I can say based on years of litigation experience that it is relatively easy to take and shade basic facts and produce two diametrically opposed versions of the truth: one where the complainant was grievously wronged, and one where the complainant is a disgruntled grudge-bearer. The truth is often somewhere in the middle, and the only constant is that, as Raimius suggested, the situation is almost always more complicated than it first appears.
     
  10. Bravo

    Bravo Member

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    Thanks for the news link - and my experience as well is that there is often more to the story. As a parent of an AROTC cadet, and a professing Christian, I certainly have an interest in such stories, but lack any real world experience with how such matters are handled in the military, so I really appreciate everyone's perspective and candid responses.

    Found this quote in the news article interesting:

    Sounds like a fair and reasonable policy, attempting to strike a balance between preventing the use of one's authority to coerce or influence others unfairly toward one's own personal religious beliefs - and preserving one's own individual rights to practice their religion.

    In practice, however, I imagine there are times where there is a fine line to walk to maintain that balance.

    To that end, I'm wondering if anyone has any stories or examples they'd like to share that illustrate the right way and wrong way to achieve that balance?

    For example, if an officer wanted to invite other officers / enlisted personnel to attend church or a bible study with them, under what circumstances would such an action be crossing the line?
     
  11. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Inviting friends and folks of equal rank to attend Church or Bible Study with you? Nothing wrong with that.

    Inviting folks of lesser rank in your Chain of Command? You're getting on the raggedy edges of that line, as this CAN be interpreted by some as undue Command influence.

    Comments such as "I didn't see you and your family at Church this weekend." to someone in your Chain of Command? Line Crossed.

    MANDATORY prayer session / bible study / Church attendance? You've left that line in your rear view mirror and are accelerating straight to "relieved of your command".
     
  12. Bravo

    Bravo Member

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    Thanks Bullet! Very helpful.

    For the "raggedy edges" example above, how easy is it in practice for an officer to separate communications of personal religious beliefs from command oriented communications? Is there an established protocol or right vs. wrong way to distinguish clearly between the two, or is this always somewhat of a grey area?
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    To my mind there is never any separation. Consider the private world. Let's say your boss communicates their personal religious beliefs in the office. Let's also consider your boss communicates those same beliefs at a private social occasion in someone's home. Does it make any difference? He or she is still your boss and therefore has "undue influence".
     
  14. pathnottaken

    pathnottaken Member

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    This one is so hard to stay on the line it is not worth going to. Just look at when the President said sex offenders "prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, [and] dishonorably discharged," Any non lawyer knew it wasn't an order but a political statement, but lawyers are using it to their advantage.

    Also why is this thread titled "Air Force Cracking Down on Christians" when the whole thing is about a Sargent getting into hot water for not acting in a neutral way. Classical if you not 100% with me you are 100% against me thinking
     
  15. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    Thank God!
     
  16. Bravo

    Bravo Member

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    Oh the irony... :smile:

    Regarding the title of the post, that was the title of the article/opinion piece I linked to and was asking for feedback on initially.

    As has been noted, the facts of the case appear to be more nuanced and less cut and dry than the title would imply. So I apologize if this post comes across as a "when did you stop beating your wife?" sort of assumed accusation at the Air Force, as that was not my intent.

    kinnem / pathnottaken - I share your concerns re: exerting "undue influence," but sense that there is some reasonable happy medium that would allow an officer not to have to check his/her beliefs at the door, enabling one as the policy states to "confidently practice your own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own."

    My own experience in the business world has shown me this is possible, as I've been able to openly dialogue with a diverse group of superiors, peers, subordinates, clients, etc. on matters of faith in a way that is non-coercive and respectful.

    Interested to hear other's thoughts though, as I admittedly have no practical experience operating under a military command structure.
     
  17. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    It is best not to talk religion and politics with people you work with in the military. Professional Development discussions about the role of chaplains and how to serve the religious needs of Soldiers/Sailors/Marines/Airman are another matter. Those should be fair to all faith groups, though.
     
  18. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Simple truth about your service responsibilities: you take an Oath to defend the Constitution, not to your personal beliefs. When you are wearing that uniform, or in any capacity representing that uniform (such as official command communication) you are responsible to that Oath. And the Constitution clearly states that there is to be a clear separation between Church and State. Specifically: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

    While I understand it is very difficult to separate personal beliefs from your daily roles in life, it simply must be done while representing the US military.

    Another thing to consider is the fact that the military has made diversity a clear priority (not a mission, but a priority) in the way we do business. Not just on race, but also religious diversity. A military commander emphasizing one religion is clearly in voilation of that push for diversity.

    Bottom Line on your question: how easy is it in practice for an officer to separate communications of personal religious beliefs from command oriented communications? Thed answer is: VERY easy, you simply NEVER mix the two.
     
  19. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    A lot of good posts here. Maybe the simple way of saying it is that you should devote your focus and your efforts to leading your airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers to do their jobs. Thus, that is how you need to do your job.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Gay and Lesbian service members serving openly in the military and same sex marraige being recognized by the military is still very new.

    While there are states that have legalized same sex marraige, the votes were not overwhelming. There are many service members that oppose same sex marraige and there will be for some time.

    I don't see the military cracking down on a service members right to think one way or another. What I do see them doing is making an effort to keep these members from making their views public to other members, as it should be in my opinion.

    I think Bullet put it best in his post about lines that should not be crossed.

    Make an open remark about minority sevice members and the hammer comes down quickly, I don't see any difference in this case.

    The person in this article can have whatever Personal Family Ethos he wants, but keep it just that, personal.

    On a side note, for the past 4 years there have been at least one Gay and one Lespian Cadet in my son's battalion. They all knew even prior to DADT being repealed. I asked him about it one time, they said nobody could care less and it was never an issue. I am sure it is not like this everywhere, hopefully it will be some day.
     

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