Jace Yarbrough is being punished by Air Force officials for a private speech he gave as a civilian at a private retirement ceremony. This could destroy his military career in the Air Force Reserve.
First Liberty won’t let that happen – not on our watch.
Jace is a patriot. He has faithfully served our country for the past 12 years. Since 2020, he’s been a reservist in the U.S. Space Force, a separate and distinct branch of the armed forces organized under the Department of the Air Force.
A couple of years ago, he was invited to speak at a private retirement ceremony for a fellow service member on the Battleship Missouri Memorial, a private museum in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Jace gave a speech in his civilian capacity in uniform to a small private group of like-minded friends and family. But a Navy member present at the ceremony participating in the quartet complained.
Motivated by his religious beliefs and consistent with the retiree’s wishes for the content of the speech, Jace quoted prominent Christian Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn, widely known for his powerful essay titled, “Live Not by Lies.” Jace’s speech warned about dishonesty and a growing cancel culture in our country, including in the military. His remarks advocated truth and encouraged integrity, an Air Force core value.
For this, Air Force officials sent him a “Letter of Admonishment” that will tarnish his record and continue to adversely impact his career.
Our nation’s military leadership is under increasing pressure from the radical left. Many religious people serving in the military are worried about being censored, punished or even kicked out of the armed forces.
This FREE resource from our legal experts equips service members with guidance about their right to serve consistent with their religious beliefs.
– First Liberty Senior Counsel, Danielle Runyan
First Liberty is going to court to defend Jace. We filed a federal lawsuit making the case that the Air Force can’t punish Jace for his private speech and religious exercise at a private venue.
Jace not only spoke as a friend and as a private citizen. He traveled to and attended the retirement ceremony at his own expense. What’s more, military regulations allow civilians to wear military uniforms for occasions such as retirement ceremonies.
The Air Force does not have the legal authority to discipline Jace in his off-duty civilian capacity or vindictively destroy his career simply because he wore his uniform and exercised his First Amendment rights at a private retirement ceremony.
We’re not going to stand idly by and watch Jace have his rights stripped away. The punishment he’s facing is arbitrary and capricious. Not to mention, illegal.
It’s going to be a tough battle. We’re about to take on military officials in federal court. That will require a huge amount of resources. We need your continued support to win this case.
The fight for religious freedom in the military is far from over. There’s a toxic, anti-religion cancel culture running rampant in America’s armed forces. We must once again stand together against it to ensure religious service members are treated fairly.
Jace is counting on you. Don’t let him fight alone. Let him know you’re fighting with him.
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