WAR On Christianity - page 16

-- Alliance Defense Fund working for you - September 08
-- Army castigating Christian activity and anti-obama political speech - September 13

 June 8, 2013 Conservative Christian Soldier Told Not to Read Levin or Hannity in Uniform

6/7/2013 1:30:00 PM - Todd Starnes   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.”

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.

Demon Drawing

Christion Drawing

A.D.F. ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND  Defending Our First Liberty.


Dear Friend,

Sometimes the threat posed to religious freedom in America is incredibly black-and-white.

Both pictures you see above were drawn in the same teacher's art class at Tomah High School near Madison, Wisconsin-a public high school, maintained with tax dollars.

One of the pictures, as you can see, features a cross and a reference to John 3:16.  The other depicts a demon.

Care to guess which one the teacher hung up in a prominent place in her classroom?

Furthermore, which one earned its artist-a straight-A student -- zero for the assignment.  a formal reprimand, and two days of detention?

That would be the work with the cross in it, of course.

The teacher explained to the young Christian who drew it that Biblical images like a cross and a Scripture reference violated the school's written policy on art projects: "Artwork that has any violence, blood, sexual connotations, [or]  religious beliefs will not be accepted. "

Interesting, isn't it, what they group our religious faith with these days?

The teacher handed the young man a copy of the policy and reminded him that he'd signed it at the start of the school year.  The young man replied that he would never have voluntarily signed away his right to express his faith-a right protected by the Constitution.

The teacher told him he had "signed away his First Amendment rights" when he put his signature on the policy.

At this point, the young man calmly, quietly tore the unconstitutional policy in half.

A Decisive Legal Victory

 Maybe that seems a little strong to you.  But again, the young man did what he did quietly, respectfully, and to make a particular point: that what he was doing to that single piece of paper was nothing compared to what his teacher and school officials were doing to his rights as an American.

To make roughly the same point, our forefathers threw a lot of tea into Boston Harbor.  To make roughly the same point, they stood, muskets loaded, on the Lexington village green.  Against that, tearing up a policy statement seems a mild response indeed.

Take another look at that second picture-the one with a demon ... the one that a publicly funded school had no problem hanging in its hallway.

As it turns out, officials at Tomah are tolerant about a lot of religious expression-various hallways and classrooms feature Buddhist sculptures and pictures of Hindu mythology, sorcerers, the Greek goddess Medusa, not to mention the Grim Reaper and a collection of demon masks.

But a cross?  No way.

The student recognized hypocrisy and persecution when he saw them.  Only Christian religious themes, it seems, are "disturbing" to the teachers and administrators of Tomah High.

This is why the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of this student and his family against the high school and the school district, claiming religious discrimination and a violation of the young man's right to free speech.

After a lot of national publicity, the district eventually agreed to settle, allowing the student's drawing to be graded, removing all record of disciplinary acts taken against him, and doing away completely with the policy banning religious expression in student art projects.

Why did school officials finally cave in?

Well, they may have experienced a real change of heart.

Or they may have recognized what a number of public schools all across the country are beginning to learn: that the Alliance Defense Fund is a legal alliance uniquely equipped to implement a national strategy for combating -- finally! -- the radical, decades-long assault on the religious liberties of our children and grandchildren.

Our alliance is composed not only of ADF staff attorneys, but also of ADF-trained and allied lawyers and like-minded organizations across the country that cooperate with us to accomplish broad goals in defense of religious freedom.

With respect to restoring and defending that freedom in our public schools-schools in which 49 million schoolchildren are enrolled-this growing alliance is focused on several key objectives:

  1. Eliminating the discriminatory and unconstitutional speech codes that are used in many taxpayer-funded school districts to censor the religious expression of Christian students, teachers, and employees and to inhibit their participation in religious activities;
  2. Securing for students the right to form Christian clubs on campus, with the same rights and privileges enjoyed by other student groups;
  3. Protecting the rights of Christian parents to educate their children in public school, free from unlawful hostility or discrimination based on their religious values; and
  4. Securing for Christian community groups equal access to public school facilities outside of school hours.

Implementing that strategy and drawing on the specialized training and financial resources provided by ADF enable our staff and allied attorneys to litigate when necessary, with astonishing success and to make a unique, combined impact on America's legal system.

Tomah school officials may have yielded to the power of this one-of-a-kind legal alliance ... but they were also undoubtedly astonished to find that Christians would actually be willing to stand up in court to defend religious freedom.

Because that's a fight too many Christians have been actively avoiding for a long, long time.

A History of Surrender

 There are some people, journalist Heywood Broun once said, who believe "that if you keep on throwing steak to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian”.

For most of 80 years now, many Christians have taken that attitude when it comes to defending our religious freedoms-particularly in our public schools.  They've been trying to ignore or accommodate an increasingly radical agenda that, over and over again, has shown a ravenous hunger for the liberties that not long ago were the honored Judeo-Christian heritage of our country.

Much of this began, of course, back in 1962, when Madalyn Murray O'Hare and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched their attack on-public prayer in America's public schools.  That created a stir, to be sure, but in the end, Christians didn't put up much of a legal fight.

"A moment of silence" seemed like a reasonable enough trade ... until someone decided that even those "moments" were offensive to atheistic sensibilities.  Suddenly, "moments" were too long as well.

Of course, after radicals silenced the public prayers, the call went out to get Bibles out of the public classrooms -- Scripture, too, is a violation of the so-called "separation of church and state”, they said.  Christians mostly let that one go, too, rationalizing that our children could always put a verse on a T-shirt or read the Bible at home.

As it turned out, however, they couldn't.  Too many of the Bible verses on young people's clothing seemed to "disturb" somebody.  So the rules began to state that you couldn't put Scripture on anything-not a shirt, not jewelry ... not even a picture in art class.

Nowadays, public schools are even forbidding Christian students from bringing in candy canes at Christmastime (of course, they're also not allowed to call it "Christmastime").  It seems some of the children were sharing stories and traditions that attached religious significance to the sweets.

It got so bad that a lot of parents who could afford to began moving their children into private and Christian schools-only the radicals want to take away that option too.  Leftists started to file lawsuits and legislators started passing legislation to force private and religious schools to abide by so-called "anti-discrimination" policies that support homosexual behavior or they would face legal and financial consequences.  After all, you can't enforce leftist doctrines on children who won't stay in the radicals' sphere of influence.

And that left home-schooling as the best option for many parents.  No need to fight the increasingly entrenched system; just teach the children yourself.  Yet now-a-California appellate ­court has told parents that that option may not be available.  ADF attorneys have been involved in the appeal of this case.  And you can bet other states are watching to see if that decision stands.

Yes, to avoid confrontations, Christians have thrown a lot of steaks to the tigers--yet the tigers are hungrier than ever.  There's nowhere left to run now ... the radicals who conquered the public schools are taking more and more aim at private, Christian, and home-school families.

They came after a Christian art student at a tiny high school in a very small community in rural Wisconsin.  Wherever your children and grandchildren are today ... they can find them too.

That's why the time has come to stand and fight for the freedoms we let go far too easily for far too long.  And thanks to your continuing support, no one is better equipped to fight this crucial fight than the powerful legal alliance called the Alliance Defense Fund, raised up by 35 national ministry leaders for such a time as this.

A Growing Record of Success

We're not just equipped to fight the battle for religious liberty in the classrooms and courtrooms of America -- we are fighting it.  We've been fighting it for nearly 15 years.

And, more and more, by God's grace, we're winning.  In addition to the victory at Tomah High ...

  • ADF lawyers won a preliminary injunction against a high school in Glendale, Arizona, where school officials refused to let members of a Christian club make an announcement over the P.A. system because the message included the word "pray”.  Although the lawsuit continues, the injunction allows the students to make the P.A. announcements while the lawsuit moves forward.

  • ADF lawyers won a major victory in Naperville, Illinois, where high school student Heidi Zamecnik was ordered to remove a T-shirt she'd put on in response to the shirts worn by some of her classmates promoting homosexual behavior on the nationwide Day of Silence (a national event designed to propagandize homosexual behavior).  Heidi's shirt read, "Be Happy, Not Gay”.

  • A federal appellate court ruled unanimously that school officials violated Heidi's First Amendment rights by banning the T-shirt.  Although Heidi has graduated from the high school, ADF attorneys were able to secure other students' right to freely communicate.

  • ADF lawyers were just as successful in defending a group of New Jersey high schoolers who were being denied permission by their administrators to promote the national Day of Truth event (sponsored by ADF in response to the Day of Silence, offering Christian students the right to respectfully present a Biblical view of homosexual behavior).  Faced with the prospect of a federal lawsuit, school officials quickly relented and gave the students the same freedom they were offering those students promoting the Day of Silence, which advocates homosexual behavior.

  • ADF attorneys quickly persuaded a high school in San Jose, California, to rethink its refusal to allow one of its students to start a pro-life club on campus.  When the young woman -- Who herself had nearly been aborted before her mother heard a prolife advocate -- announced her intention to launch the club informally, the school tried to block that too.

    Faced with a formal complaint in federal court, though, the school immediately backed down, giving the new club the same recognition and support as every other campus organization.

  • ADF attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of kindergartner Wesley Busch in Pennsylvania.  When it was Wesley's turn to have a parent come in and read a story from his favorite book, he wanted his mother to read a story from the Bible.  The teacher said no because that would promote "a specific religious point of view" ... even though another parent had been allowed to discuss her religion's holidays.  (The teacher encouraged Wesley's mom to read about witches and Halloween instead.)

    The case is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

As you can see, the war for the religious freedoms of our children goes on every day, in schools-and courts-coast to coast.  And although it's a war the Alliance Defense Fund is winning, by God's grace, one battle at a time-thanks in particular to the incredible resources you've enabled us to put into action through your past gifts and support -- it's also a war that is far from over.

That's why your continued generosity is so crucial to the outcome of this fight.

A Battle Only the Alliance Can Win

 Because of your dependable involvement, ADF has been able to train, equip and assemble a unique alliance of nearly 1,200 local attorneys serving in communities all across America, who are working closely with our own staff lawyers to build a united strategy for rolling back the successes of the radical agenda that has so thoroughly corrupted our nation's public school system.

This is what our ministry's founders created ADF to do-engage and transform a hostile legal culture and keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by building the same kind of alliance between attorneys and like-minded organizations ... developing and executing a comprehensive national legal strategy ... and effectively providing the members of that alliance with the ongoing training and needed funds to successfully litigate against the entrenched forces that dominate so much of public education.

The Alliance Defense Fund is doing all those things, but we can't keep on doing them-we can't train even more attorneys, fund even more cases, develop even more potent strategies for the many, many battles still to come-without your continuing, generous gifts of financial support and your prayers.

God is blessing our nation with a new generation of children and young people who take their faith in Him very seriously and are willing to stand boldly for that faith among their peers and, if necessary, before the teachers and administrators of their schools.

These are the children who will transform what tomorrow looks like in America ... and we can't let-them stand-alone today.

 You know what nearly 80 years of radical assaults have done to this country's public education system.  You can see, if you look, how those assaults will soon engulf the lives of your own children and grandchildren.

And now you know that the Alliance Defense Fund is doing something about that.  By God's grace, we're drawing on the unique power of this ever-growing legal alliance to successfully defend religious liberty in courtrooms all across the country.

We're winning-but there are so many, many battles still to come.  We can't win them without your generous help and prayerful support.

Please give the best gift you possibly can today and ask God to bless it bountifully to help the Alliance Defense Fund stand for the religious freedom of the children who will someday lead our nation.  Your generosity will make a powerful, decisive difference and restore many lost, precious liberties to the classrooms of America.

Picture that.

Yours for religious freedom in America,

-- Signature --

 Alan E. Sears
President, CEO & General Counsel

P.S.      These young people-the 49 million enrolled in our tax-funded public schools-ask for nothing more than the freedom to hear and speak the Truth.  It is in your power, by the grace of God, to help give them that freedom.  Please lend your best financial support to the legal alliance that is uniquely equipped to successfully defend their religious liberties.  Give generously today -- and thank you.

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