This past summer, Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk became a celebrity among Religious Right groups because of his claims of being persecuted for his Christian beliefs against homosexuality.
Senior Master Sgt. Monk claimed that he was relieved from his duty with the 326th Training Squadron on July 26 for vocally opposing gay marriage (based on his religious beliefs) to his commanding officer.
The serviceman was even part of a panel on Christian persecution at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in October, noted The Christian Post.
However, his story was debunked in October by an Air Force investigation, which found that religion was never discussed between Senior Master Sgt. Monk and his commanding officer.
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The Air Force also stated that Senior Master Sgt. Monk was not relieved of duty, but rather reassigned to another to another unit. He was notified of the re-assignment months before the incident, back in April.
According to the MilitaryTimes.com:
The investigation, initiated Aug. 15 by Col. Mark Camerer, 37th Training Wing commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, found the claim unsubstantiated. The investigation also concluded Monk made false official statements, but did not violate Articles 107 or 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“The weight of the evidence shows that religion was never discussed between the two,” Camerer said in an Air Education and Training Command release. “In the end, this is a case about command authority, good order and discipline, and civil rights — not religious freedoms,” he said.
Monk was not removed from his position, but rather moved, as scheduled, to another Lackland unit, an assignment he was notified of in April, the release says.
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RightWingWatch.org now reports that the Family Research Council has ignored the facts and produced a new video (below) rehashing the debunked story.
The video includes the dramatic claim: "His punishment was intended to have a chilling effect on service members throughout the military."
In the video, Senior Master Sgt. Monk states, "I was the victim here," but doesn't mention his false official statements cited by the Air Force.