We need to take this story with a grain of salt because it comes out of Todd Starnes. In the past, Starnes has been known to jump to major conclusions with regards to issues that may not actually be about Christian persecution while claiming that they are.
Starnes is among those who have, in the past, claimed that the ban on religious harassment in the military was a ban on any discussion of religion. He also ran with a story about an athlete who was, supposedly, disqualified from a running tournament for praying to God even though he was disqualified for disrespecting the referee.
So, Starnes is reporting that an Army master sergeant was disciplined for hosting a promotion party at which he served Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Supposedly, the soldier did this in order to “honor the Defense of Marriage Act.” The incident happened at about the same time that the uproar over Chick-fil-A was happening last year.
The report comes second-hand and is pretty much hearsay. Starnes notes that the unidentified soldier was investigated, reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report…all according to the incorrectly named Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
CARL Executive Director Ron Crews told Starnes, who works for FOX News, that “They say he is no longer a team player and was not performing up to standards. This is just one little example of a case of a soldier just wanting to express his views and now he’s been jumped on by the military.”
Army Public Affairs informed Starnes that ”With respect to the political activities, soldiers are expected to carry out their obligations as citizens in accordance with applicable regulations. The Army cannot comment on ongoing investigations or administrative actions.”
The master sergeant probably contravened this section of the cannot do list:
Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security (in the case of the Coast Guard) or any component of these Departments with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this Directive shall be avoided.
It is also possible that, given the circumstances surrounding the promotion ceremony, the master sergeant also was seen as engaging in religious harassment and mild racism given the nature of what Chick-fil-A sells.
In fact, the sergeant did, according to Crews, contravene at least two of those by sending out invitations that read “In honor of my promotion and in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at my promotion party.”
Starnes apparently never bothered to read the military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice now did he?
Crews told Starnes that the soldier received a letter of reprimand and that “There was initially some talk of bringing judicial punishment against him. He had a letter put in his file and an investigation was initiated to see if he had violated any policy.” He added “He was at the pinnacle of his career. To make that rank means you’ve done very well throughout your career. He wants to finish serving his time honorably.”
Ah, but he had engaged in politicking by not only using those sandwiches at that particular time, but he also took on an issue that is about religion. As a master sergeant, he is not suppose to do that.
Of course, Crews tries to make this about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s repeal claiming “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.”
Starnes claims that a service member was given “a severe reprimand for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog,” and “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.”
The thing is, all three stories show soldiers breaking the UCMJ rules and laws that date to long before DADT was repealed. It is only now that they can run to people like Crews in order to whine and complain about being “persecuted” for their beliefs.
Starnes loves to enable people in breaking the rules and laws that govern society and to push the idea that Christians are being persecuted because they are being told to follow the law. Unfortunately, these are people who want the license to do what they want and hate the idea of being made to face the ultimate freedom- the freedom to take the consequences of their actions.