IN THE MILITARY
After filing a religious discrimination complaint against his commanding officer, Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Phillip Monk is now facing intimidation and retaliation from the military.
During a meeting earlier this month, Air Force investigators abruptly read Monk his Miranda rights—usually standard during criminal arrests—accusing the 19-year Air Force veteran of providing false statements.
|Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk|
“I was stunned and immediately felt that this was a retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint,” said Monk.
In the military, making a false official statement is punishable by court-martial.
Problems began when Monk, a devout Christian and 19-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was told by his commander that they weren’t on the “same page,” regarding same-sex marriage, and that if he didn’t “get on the same page,” she would find another place for him to work.
Later, the commanding officer ordered Monk to answer the question of whether people who object to gay marriage are discriminating. Monk responded that he could not answer in the way she wanted, fearing an honest response would put him in legal trouble.
At that point, Monk was relieved of his duties. In addition, he was informed that he was “no longer allowed to be physically present” in the building or facilities in which he previously served.
First Liberty Institute Steps In
Although reluctant to speak out, Monk made the courageous decision to stand for religious freedom and quickly retained First Liberty Institute to represent him.
Last month, First Liberty Institute filed a formal complaint with the military on behalf of Monk. The Air Force must now decide whether it will charge him with the crime of making a false official statement or proceed with action on his religious discrimination complaint.
“We are hopeful that the Air Force will do the right thing by clearing SMSgt Monk’s name and reputation, and supporting his and every Airman’s right to express their religious convictions without fear of punishment,” said First Liberty Institute Attorney Michael Berry.
First Liberty Institute vows to continue our defense of SMSgt Monk, and any other member of the military facing religious hostility.
As the largest legal organization focused solely on protecting religious freedom in America, we have a long track record of success when it comes to defending our nation’s service members. We have proven time and time again that we can win…we just need people bold enough to stand.
For His Sons . . . and All of Us
In Monk’s case, he stood up for his three teenage sons.
“Every night after dinner we read the Bible together,” Monk told Fox News. “I tell the boys we’ve got a lot of stuff going on in this world and we need people to stand up. My boys know what I’m going through. They are looking at me – wanting to know how I’m going to handle this.”
Please pray for SMSgt Monk as he courageously stands for not only his own First Amendment rights, but also the rights of every member of our military.
You can also help through your generous financial support. Our brave service men and women boldly fight for our freedoms everyday. Now, help us do the same for them.
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit www.firstliberty.org.