Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Vet Forcibly Removed From Ceremony After Mentioning God
When retired veteran Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriquez started offering traditional remarks at a military flag folding ceremony, several uniformed airmen assaulted him, dragging him out of the room because his remarks mentioned God.
Thankfully, it was all caught on video.
After reviewing the video, Liberty First Institute---the largest law firm in the United States exclusively dedicated to protecting religious liberty---has taken the case at no expense to the veteran.
Here's what happened initially.
In April, Master Sergeant Charles Robertson was retiring from active duty. Robertson had heard Rodriguez give his stirring rendition of the traditional flag folding speech and wanted him to do the honors at his ceremony at Travis Air Force Base, where Robertson served.
According to the demand letter sent out Monday by Liberty, when the squadron's commanding officer Lieutenant Colonial Michael Sovitsky learned that Rodriguez would be doing the traditional ceremony speech which mentions God, he expressed opposition and tried to block it.
When the event went forward as planned, Sovitsky sent in uniformed airmen to physically remove Rodriguez, who forcibly seized him, dragging him out of the room as he is giving his speech. All this caught on video.
Rodriguez says, "It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life."
Why would the commanding officer direct his subordinates to do this?
The traditional flag folding speech explains the colors, symbols, and history of the flag.
The flag folding speech is always the same, and it contains several religious references, including, "Let us pray that God will reflect with admiration the willingness of 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 God, substituting additional historical facts such as Neil Armstrong's planting of an American flag on the moon in 1969.
However, many retiring service members still ask for the traditional speech which acknowledges God.
Rodriguez retired from the Air Force in 2013 after 33 years of service, Robertson retired in April.
The service members who removed Rodriguez were not military police and had no lawful authority to arrest or detain any person, especially a private citizen like Rodriguez.
After dragging him from the ceremony, Air Force personnel then expelled Rodriguez from the base entirely.
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."
It's something most of us never expected. I've got to tell you, I looked at the video twice before it really sank in as to what I was seeing.
On Sunday, First Liberty sent a letter to the US 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 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 US 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 7 days to meet these demands and apologize to Rodriguez, or these lawyers will file a federal civil-rights lawsuit in US district court to seek justice for this 33 year Air Force veteran.
This act of authoritarian censorship is forbidden under the Constitution, and even those who rage against God should know that.
We'll follow this.
Given that this all happened on video, the military is in a very difficult position. If they ignore or refuse to respond, Liberty will have a very strong case and it will play out in front of the American public.
If they comply with the demands of First Liberty Institute, that will significantly set back the anti-God agenda that is a growing issue in the military---particularly in the Air Force.
I can only imagine how our Founding Fathers would respond to this insanity.
Patrick Henry said, "When people forget God, tyrants forge their chains."
This is considerably beyond "forgetting" God---it's working to evict Him from a country that was founded on His principles.
George Washington spoke often to the importance of God in this country: "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
Washington was placing God above country. He saw this nation "under God."
Our second President, John Adams, was also a Christian and spoke endlessly about the importance of God and the Bible in America. In fact, he famously said, "Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love and reverence toward Almighty God...What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
Thomas Jefferson, our third President, was considered, along with Ben Franklin, the least religious of all our Founding Fathers, yet it was Jefferson who said, "It was God who gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought to be secure when we have removed their firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift from God? That they cannot be violated but with His wrath. Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever..."
And finally. John Handcock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence---the guy with the large handwriting said: "Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual...Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."
In a sentence, our Founders believed that God is more important than the nation they founded, our liberties are God's gift, if we honored His Word---the Bible, it would be Eutopia, and in that spirit, we should resist tyranny.
Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Strong. Be Blessed.