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Army sergeant in trouble for reading conservative books while being Christian

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A veteran of the U.S. Army may be punished for his reading books, putting bumper stickers on his car, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25 year Army veteran who has also described himself as a conservative Christian, faces military discipline for reading conservative books, posting anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, and hosting a party where Chick-fil-A was served.

Sgt. Sommers believes he is being singled out because of his conservative Christian beliefs. Sommers is a member of the Army band.

In an interview with Fox News Sommers said, "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. Christians feel like they can't be forthright with their faith. They have to hide."

Retired Navy Cmdr. John Bennett Wells is representing Sommers and has said the U.S. military is discriminating against Christians and his client. "There's no question about it," he told Fox News. "Because he is religious, because he feels that homosexual conduct is wrong for religious reasons, he is basically being persecuted."

The Army has refused to comment on the case, but told Fox that Sommers' actions bordered on disrespect to President Obama. According to an Army spokesman, the "slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.

The bumper stickers on Sommers car read "Political dissent is NOT racism," "NOBAMA," and "NOPE2012."

According to Sommers, his superior said that the bumper stickers were creating "unnecessary workplace tension."

Sommers also told Fox that he was disciplined for reading books by David Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. He explained that he was not reading the books out loud, just privately to himself, but according to his superiors other soldiers in his unit were offended by the books.

He was told not to read the books "while in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band."

In another confrontation with superiors, Sommers was taken to task for serving Chick-fil-A at a party. When Sommers was promoted to the rank of Master Sgt. Once promoted, as is traditional, Sommers threw a party that was catered by Chick-fil-A. Sommers tweeted about his party saying, " "My family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for, I can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party - theoretically without any fear of reprisal."

In another tweak he wrote, "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."

Anti-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."
Those tweets were cited in official military paperwork. Sommers was again accused of disrespect to the president of the United States.
Sommers defended himself saying that the party was thrown with his own personal funds, and was not paid for by the Army.
It is understood that active-duty service personnel do not enjoy the same freedoms and rights as ordinary civilians. However, it does not appear that any of the activities outlined against Sommers are genuinely disrespectful or should be offensive to anyone with a skin.

In fact even the military documentation against Sommers says that his conduct "borders on disrespect," but stops short of calling it such. So far, Sommers' only offense has been to bring down the morale of those around him who do not understand the concept of freedom of speech, peaceful dissent, freedom of religion, or independent thought.

Unfortunately, Sommers is only one of several United States military personnel who is facing some level of persecution for his political and religious beliefs.

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