An Air Force veteran was relieved from duty after disagreeing with his openly gay commander.
Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, a 19-year Air Force veteran, stepped in when his openly gay commander talked of severely punishing a subordinate Airman who expressed his religious beliefs, objecting to homosexuality.
Monk, an evangelical Christian, shared his opinion with his commander, advising her the incident be utilized as a learning experience on tolerance and diversity. Later, Monk was relieved of his duties and reassigned. The commander also banned Monk from returning to the unit and when he came to retrieve his personal effects, he had to first request permission.
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” said Monk. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”
Air Force Instruction 1-1 states that commanders “must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinate or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
Monk has retained an attorney from Liberty Institute to defend his religious liberties and rights.
“Are we going to have a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for Christians so we don’t get harassed for our beliefs? Here’s a guy who wants to have his religious liberty and serve in the military. He shouldn’t have to believe in gay marriage in order to serve,” Liberty Institute Litigation Director Hiram Sasser said.
Monk has served as a First Sergeant at Lackland Air Force in San Antonio since 2011 and has recently returned from a deployment. He has requested that his position be reinstated.