For God or For Country?


Perhaps you have heard about the story of Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, USAF? Then again, with the media’s attention dominated by Syria, maybe you haven’t. Here’s his story:

Monk, who is a devout evangelical Christian, said he met with the young instructor and told him that he was fighting for him.

“He was really concerned,” he said. “He said he felt like he was on an island – that he couldn’t be who he is anymore. He didn’t understand why somebody would be offended.”

The instructor was eventually punished by having a letter of counseling placed in his official file.

Monk soon found himself in a very similar position after his commander ordered him to answer a question about whether people who object to gay marriage are guilty of discrimination.

“She said, ‘Sgt. Monk, I need to know if you can, as my first sergeant, if you can see discrimination if somebody says that they don’t agree with homosexual marriage,’” he said. “I refused to answer the question.”

Monk said to answer would have put him in a legal predicament.

“And as a matter of conscience I could not answer the question the way the commander wanted me to,” he said.

At that point, Monk said that perhaps it would be best if he went on leave. The commander agreed.

“I was essentially fired for not validating my commander’s position on having an opinion about homosexual marriage,” he said.

Roughly 1.4 million men and women serve in the armed forces of the United States. Around 20% of them identify as Roman Catholics. There are also many Evangelicals who share similar beliefs.  Although estimating the number of Evangelicals in the military is a bit trickier because they are not limited to a single denomination and not all Baptists, for example, would identify as “Evangelical,” it’s a safe bet that at least a third of all people serving in the military practice a religion which teaches that the sacrament of marriage is instituted by God between one man and one woman.

World War II Cemetery and Memorial, near Colleville-sur-mer in Normandy, France

World War II Cemetery and Memorial, near Colleville-sur-mer in Normandy, France

According to the latest report from this past Friday on the case of SMSgt. Monk, every single one of them could be relieved from duty and face a court-martial for refusing to compromise their beliefs in accordance with the Obama Administration’s policy which requires the military to endorse homosexual marriage. Our military could be reduced in strength by a third and then by still more again when you consider the resources that will be required to prosecute–or rather persecute–all who would dare uphold the freedom of religion which generations of patriots before them have so honorably fought and died to protect.

At a time when America has many enemies and Obama’s disastrous foreign policy lacks the projection of strength necessary to prevent wars from happening in the first place, this kind of internal division is exactly what the young instructor who started this chain of events was warning about. The Roman Empire fell to the barbarian hordes because her borders were weakly defended and her armies were too busy fighting each other to decide who the next emperor would be.

It is a bitter irony that the Obama Administration is ignoring this lesson of history in order to promote an ideological agenda within the ranks of the military. Instead of fostering camaraderie and esprit de corps, President Obama—the Commander-in-Chief—is fostering discord and distrust. Faithful Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and indeed even atheists who believe in freedom of religious expression are no longer welcome in the United States Military. Instead of serving God and Country, they must now choose one or the other.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Joshua Bowman joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved back to his beloved native Virginia from Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities.

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