Veteran Forcibly Removed from Air Force Ceremony after Mentioning God

Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez was humiliated and assaulted simply because he dared to invoke the name of the Almighty, and those responsible are facing a federal civil-rights lawsuit. That is especially interesting because the Air Force has been abusing Christian servicemen for the last several years, with virtually no repercussions. Fortunately Rodriguez has found a law group that is willing to protect his rights. Whether he will prevail remains to be seen.

For countless years, service members have given the “flag-folding speech” at military and civic events, including retirement ceremonies. Traditionally, this speech explains the colors, symbols, and history of the flag.

The flag-folding speech also contains several religious references, including, “Let us pray that God will reflect with admiration the willingness of one nation in her attempts to rid the world of tyranny, oppression, and misery. It is this one nation under God that we call, with honor, the United States of America.”

The speech closes with, “God bless our flag. God bless our troops. God bless America.”

In 2005, the Pentagon changed the speech to remove all references to the divine, substituting additional historical facts such as Neil Armstrong’s planting of an American flag on the moon in 1969. But many service members prefer the traditional speech and desire that version given at their own retirement celebrations.

On April 3, 2016, Master Sergeant Charles Roberson was retiring from active duty. Roberson had heard Rodriguez give his stirring rendition of the traditional flag-folding speech and asked Rodriguez if he would give that speech at Roberson’s retirement celebration at Travis Air Force Base where Roberson served in the 749th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

When the event went forward as planned, another video first obtained by Breitbart News — the one of the retirement ceremony itself — shows Rodriguez taking his position and beginning his flag-folding speech. Four uniformed airmen surround him, forcibly seize him, and roughly drag him out of the room, as he continues shouting out his speech over the heads of his assailants.

The service members were not military police and had no lawful authority to arrest or detain any person, especially a private citizen like Rodriguez. Air Force personnel then expelled Rodriguez from the base entirely.

Rodriguez then retained First Liberty Institute — the largest law firm in the United States exclusively dedicated to protecting religious liberty — as his legal counsel. First Liberty is representing Rodriguez entirely free of charge.

“It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” Rodriguez says. “To have the Air Force assault me and drag me out of a retirement ceremony simply because my speech included the word ‘God’ is something I never expected from our military.”

On Sunday, First Liberty sent a letter to the U.S. Air Force and the commander of Travis Air Force Base, demanding that the Air Force: (1) issue a formal written apology to Rodriguez, (2) an admission that Air Force personnel violated his civil rights, (3) a written promise that Rodriguez is welcome to return to the base and engage in legally protected speech, and (4) “Punitive action against those determined to be responsible for violating Mr. Rodriguez’s constitutional rights.”

The letter also lists the various federal laws and provisions of the U.S. Constitution that the airmen — acting as government agents — allegedly violated by their actions, including the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. First Liberty Institute is giving the Air Force seven days to meet these demands and apologize to Rodriguez, or these lawyers will file a federal civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. district court to seek justice for this 33-year Air Force veteran.

It is outrageous that a decorated veteran, who is honoring a fellow decorated veteran as has been done countless times in the past, is manhandled in order to make a political point. This type of activity could not happen if those committing the violations did not think they had approval from the top. How high that goes is anyone’s guess, but Obama’s animus towards the military and all but one religion are well-known. There is now open hostility towards Christianity in the service, from denying the right to openly show religious expressions, to removing the Bible from POW/MIS displays.

This nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian principals, and no matter what Obama says, that was and is the primary belief system in this country. It is tragic that the laws of this nation have been twisted and bent in order to undermine and destroy the religious ethic that has blessed this nation for over two centuries. Perhaps it is time for Christians to stop turning the other cheek and to take this nation back from the vile and irreligious heathens such as Obama. Perhaps he needs to feel the wrath of an indignant nation, tired of the hateful and spiteful treatment they have received from a very, very little man.




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