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Military service is now a hostile work place for conservatives

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Military service is now a hostile work place for conservatives

Old 06-07-2013, 10:02 AM
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Default Military service is now a hostile work place for conservatives

Conservative Christian Soldier Told Not to Read Levin or Hannity in Uniform
Todd Starnes | Jun 07, 2013

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A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.

Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in today’s military.

“It seems like with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – that the Christians have been the ones who’ve had to go underground and in the closet – for fear of retaliation and reprisals,” Sommers told me.

“Christians feel like they can’t be forthright with their faith. They have to hide.”

Ret. Navy Commander John Bennett Wells is representing the master sergeant. He said there is no doubt in his mind that the U.S. military is discriminating against Christians – and specifically his client.

“There’s no question about it,“ Wells tells me. “Because he is religious, because he feels that homosexual conduct is wrong for religious reasons, he is basically being persecuted.”

Lt. Col. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon released a statement to Fox News noting that the military branch cannot comment on ongoing investigations or administrative actions.

“With respect to the political activities, soldiers are expected to carry out their obligations as citizens in accordance with applicable regulations,” Platt said.

Army documents I’ve obtained indicate Sommers was told that his actions bordered on being disrespectful to President Obama and the “slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”

“You should strive to express your opinion while being aware of the overall ramifications of your statements,” the Army noted.

Sommers’ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.

The stickers read: “Political Dissent is NOT Racism,” “NOBAMA,” NOPE2012” and “The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with A**-Fault.”

His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating “unnecessary workplace tension.”

“The types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,” the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. “A Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”

Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand.

“He’s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,” he said. “The DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.”

During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.

Sommers was reading Limbaugh’s “The Great Destroyer” backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing “unit disruption” and was offending other soldiers.

“I wasn’t reading aloud,” he said. “I was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.”

In another episode, he had been caught backstage reading a copy of Levin’s “The Making of Ameritopia.”

Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book “while in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.”

“This is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,” he said. “The statement took my breath away. I was speechless.”

In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.

His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The company’s president told a reporter that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.

In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.

“I was inspired by Gov. Huckabee’s appreciation day,” Sommers told Fox News. “And since I wasn’t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.”

It’s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.

“My family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,” he said. “I can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party – theoretically without any fear of reprisal.”

The soldier also tweeted about the party: “In honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holder’s refusal to enforce DOMA act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.”

He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: “@Marklevinshow ‘luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.”

Both tweets were cited in an official military document.

“As a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,” the document stated.

Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.

“I had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,” he said.

He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.

Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.

“It’s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,” Wells said. “They recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.”

During the course of their investigation, the military unearthed a tweet from 2010 that included a derogatory word for homosexuals. The soldier admitted that he had retweeted someone else’s original tweet.

“Lordy, Lordy, it’s f****t Tuesday. The lefty loons and Obamabots are out in full force,” the retweet read.

The soldier was hauled in to explain himself before a superior officer.

“He explained to me that homosexual Soldiers were now afraid of me,” Sommers said. “He showed me a letter from an Army Band colleague that demanded that I publicly apologize (to) the band for my statements and that I should be removed from positions of leadership and influence.”

Sommers admitted the retweet was a case of bad judgment on his part, but he said he believes that a group of homosexual soldiers are on a witch hunt and they were “attempting to dig up any negative information they could in order to silence me or ruin my career.”

Attorney Wells said Sommers is taking a “courageous course.”

“He’s not going to abandon his beliefs,” he said. “It would be easy for him to stand up and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen the light. Yes, I was wrong – and I’m going to do everything I can to embrace the political correctness and all will be forgiven.’”

But Wells said the soldier’s “conscience won’t allow him to do that.”

Sommers said he has worked alongside gay soldiers for quite some time and does not have a problem serving with them.

“My point is everybody has a right,” he said. “Christians also have a right to express their points of view and that’s what’s being squelched here. There is no tolerance or dissent from the military’s point of view.”

The soldier fears that the military is becoming less tolerant.

“Ironically, the liberals are preaching tolerance,” he said. “They are saying, ‘We can tolerate you.’ But if you have a certain belief that doesn’t align with what the military wants you to believe – particularly religious beliefs – you’re no longer welcome in the U.S. military.”

Attorney Wells said his client is not going down without a fight – and they are vowing to file a federal lawsuit and reach out to Congress if necessary.

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty said stories like this are becoming commonplace in the military post-repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“These stories are the ones that have not been told – about some of the more subtle ramifications of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” he said.

One service member received a severe reprimand for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.

A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.

And a chaplain who asked senior military officers whether religious liberty would be protected in the wake of the repeal of the law against open homosexual behavior in the military was told to “get in line” or resign.

Crews said they are sharing these stories to let other service members know there is a place to get help. He said Chaplain Alliance publishes a religious liberty palm card – explaining constitutionally protected liberties to service members.

“If you believe your religious liberties have been violated, here’s what you can do,” he said. “We will see that you get the help that you need.”

As and what about Sommers?

“We’re going to stand with this soldier who did nothing wrong,” Crews said. “There is nothing wrong in saying he wants to celebrate DOMA – which happens to be federal law.
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:58 PM
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Obama's military.I feel so safe.NOT!!
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:30 AM
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If this guy was a gay vegetarian atheist reading rules for radicals they would love him....
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:41 AM
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Update, now facing charges.

A member of the U.S. Army Band who said he was reprimanded for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car, serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity is now facing Article 15 charges – which cropped up shortly after he went public with his complaints.
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Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a decorated soloist with the Army Band, is being charged under a federal law that permits commanding officers to conduct non-judicial proceedings for minor offenses.
Sommers is accused of giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctor’s appointment. He’s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic son’s medical records.
The charges were handed down one day after Sommers told Fox News that he was facing discrimination and persecution because of his conservative political and religious beliefs.
“The timing does seem strange,” retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News. “It’s suspicious. No matter what’s happening it looks like a graduated attempt to build a case against him on some really ridiculous charges.
Wells is representing the 25-year veteran who, until last summer, had a spotless record.
The Military District of Washington disputed allegations that Sommers had been reprimanded or disciplined.
“The Soldier is not, and never has been, ‘facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party,’” Public Affairs Director Michelle Roberts told Fox News in a written statement.
CHECK OUT “SOLDIER TOLD NOT TO READ HANNITY, LEVIN OR LIMBAUGH WHILE IN UNIFORM”
CHECK OUT “AIR FORCE REMOVES VIDEO THAT MENTIONS GOD”
However, Wells said that’s simply not true – and he said he’s got official Army documents to support his claims.
The MDW spokesman was either uninformed or was being disingenuous,” he said. “The counseling form clearly stated that he was being reminded of his limited ability to disagree with the President’s policies and implied that displaying the bumper stickers could lead to prosecution under the Hatch Act.”
He said the counseling form also reprimanded Sommers for tweeting about the Chick-fil-A party.
“The counseling form in itself is firm corroboration of the statements made by MSG Sommers to Fox News,” he said. “It also gives rise to the question of why the Army was data mining a soldier’s private tweets.”
Sommers’ troubles started last year when he was confronted about having pro-Republican and anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal vehicle.
The stickers read: “Political Dissent is NOT Racism,” “NOBAMA,” NOPE2012” and “The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Ass-Fault.” That sticker included the image of a donkey.
His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating “unnecessary workplace tension.”
“The types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,” the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. “A Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”
Sommers also came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh. Last summer he was reading Limbaugh’s “The Great Destroyer” backstage at a concert when a superior officer told him that he was causing “unit disruption” and was offending other soldiers.
“I wasn’t read aloud,” Sommers told Fox News. “I was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.”
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity expressed dismay at the book censorship.
“What a sad day for American when an American hero can have his personal freedoms ripped away – when that very military he works for is on the frontlines defending those very freedoms for every United States citizen,” Hannity told Fox News. “What’s next – book burning? Government approved reading lists? State run media outlets? Can military members read Obama’s books?”
But the incident that led to an official investigation of Sommers came late last summer when he served Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The company’s president told a reporter that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.
In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.
“I was inspired by Gov. Huckabee’s appreciation day,” Sommers told Fox News. “And since I wasn’t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.”
It’s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal.
“My family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,” he said. “I can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party – theoretically without any fear of reprisal.”
The soldier also tweeted about the party: “In honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holder’s refusal to enforce DOMA act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.”
He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: “@Marklevinshow ‘luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.”
Both tweets were cited in an official military document.
“As a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,” the document stated.
Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.
“I had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,” he said.
He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.
Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.
“It’s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,” Wells said. “They recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.”
Attorney Wells believes Sommers is being discriminated against not only because of his Christian faith, but also because of his objections to homosexuality.
“There’s no question about it,” Wells told Fox News. “Because he is religious, because he feels that homosexual conduct is wrong for religious reasons, he is basically being persecuted.”
During the course of their investigation, the military unearthed a tweet from 2010 that included a derogatory word for homosexuals. The soldier admitted that he had retweeted someone else’s original tweet.
“Lordy, Lordy, it’s ****** Tuesday. The lefty loons and Obamabots are out in full force,” the retweet read.
The soldier was hauled in to explain himself before a superior officer.
“He explained to me that homosexual Soldiers were now afraid of me,” Sommers said. “He showed me a letter from an Army Band colleague that demanded that I publicly apologize (to) the band for my statements and that I should be removed from positions of leadership and influence.”
Sommers admitted the retweet was a case of bad judgment on his part, but he said he believes that a group of homosexual soldiers are on a witch hunt and they were “attempting to dig up any negative information they could in order to silence me or ruin my career.”
Wells said there are a number of homosexuals serving in the Army Band and he believes they are ganging up on Sommers because of his religious beliefs.
Last Spring Sommers raised concerns after the US Army Chorus had been invited to perform with the Turtle Creek Chorale, one of the nation’s largest gay men’s choruses.
Sommers said he witnessed an “inappropriate sexual advance between one of the members of the chorale” and a member of the US Army Chorus involving a slap on a soldier’s backside.
“The rehearsal also featured sexual innuendo and banter which made me feel particularly uncomfortable, and a situation where a 10-year-old boy, who was asked to sing a solo with the Turtle Creek Chorale, was subjected to inappropriate, lewd behavior from the Chorale in the presence of the Army Chorus,” he said.
Wells said he witnessed similar behavior on an Army base involving two men exchanging affectionate words.
“When I was in the military any kind of public display of affection on a military installation would have been discouraged and frowned upon,” Wells said. “Now, it’s blatant. I’m not sure heterosexuals can do that.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin told Fox News it appears the Army is trying to send a message to not only Sommers but others in his unit.
“Over my 36 years in the US Army I saw numerous situations like this where a soldier is singled out by the chain of command for punishment,” Boykin said. “The Article 15 proceeding may be technically legitimate, but one must recognize that an Army Master Sergeant with 25 years does not normally do stupid things that are easily avoidable unless there is some mitigating circumstance.”
Boykin said the issue is whether the chain of command would be doing this if it were not for his outspoken Christian faith and his unwillingness to compromise on what he believes.
“It seems to me that the chain of command has failed to deter him from his beliefs and has resorted to this step now,” he said.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:09 PM
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E-7 ought to know better.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Catus Magnus View Post
E-7 ought to know better.
Know better than to read a conservative book in uniform?
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Fieldmouse View Post
Update, now facing charges.
*shrugs* Conservatives think it's fine to fire someone over their sexual orientation.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:47 PM
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Don't have to hide it if you are gay in the military, but you must hide it if you are a Conservative.

I'm still confounded that obviously outspoken libs hang out on a hunting site. Makes no sense.
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Old 06-13-2013, 04:51 PM
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All 33 years I was in the military, we were told to keep our personal beliefs to ourselves. We never spoke of politics and everyone voted the way they wanted. Had someone had bumper stickers demeaning the POTUS, they would have been reprimanded and possibly faced article 15. His contacting a talk show, id'ing himself as a MSG and then the reasoning behind his actions is in violation of the UCMJ. Reprimanding him for reading books though was going over the line. In the military you do not have the same freedoms as a civilian and this guy seemed to be wanting to push the envelope.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Catus Magnus View Post
E-7 ought to know better.
According to the article, he's a Master Sergeant. According to my husband that's an E8.

But he says your point is well taken. While you are free to vote, criticism of your commanding officers is not acceptable. And the prez is Commander in Chief. Supposedly, it is not good for morale in the unit to openly despise your leaders.
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