Master sergeant files lawsuit against Air Force claiming religious discrimination

An Air Force master sergeant is suing the Air Force, claiming he was discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.
August 21, 2013 5:35:09 AM PDT
An Air Force master sergeant is fighting back against the Air Force, claiming he was discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.

For 19 years, Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk has served his country in the U.S. Air Force.

He claims a turn of events in June while serving in the 326th training squadron at Lackland Air Force base is why he's in front of the bright lights and camera now.

"I believe I was treated unfairly," Monk said.

A letter seeking redress filed on behalf of Monk by the Liberty Institute says while on duty, the sergeant was asked by his female commander whether "he could agree that a verbal statement expressing religious or moral opposition to same-sex marriage was discrimination. Monk answered he did not agree that it was discrimination."

"When I wouldn't agree to my commander's viewpoint on a religious matter, I was relieved and stripped of my position," Monk said.

The formal complaint says the airman was immediately relieved of his duties and reassigned.

Monk's Military Equal Opportunity Complaint claims he was then banned from returning to the unit building.

"People of faith don't have a place in the Air Force anymore, and that's the message that the commanding officer has sent," Liberty Institute Attorney Michael Berry said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force says they are aware of the allegation and points out his rank did not change.

The Air Force says the allegations are being investigated and goes on to say, "For several months, he's been scheduled to rotate out of his unit to another unit at Lackland. Once his replacement began duty, the individual moved to his new unit."

The Air Force veteran says he'll continue his fight from his new assignment.

"This isn't just about me, this is for all airmen," Monk said.

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