Air Force Colonel Leland Bohannon is the kind of guy we want in our military. He flew Middle East combat missions and was awarded the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal.
Yet, in 2017, in a blatant display of Christophobic bigotry, the Air Force suspended him from command when he was on the verge of becoming a one-star general. Orders came from on high that he was never to be promoted again.
What was Col. Bohannon’s crime? His crime was that he believes in natural marriage, marriage as God has defined it, the union of one man and one woman. His conscience would not allow him to approve a union of two men or two women in a counterfeit “marriage.”
So when a retiring master sergeant under his command asked him to sign a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for his same-sex “spouse,” Col. Bohannon politely declined. But he went to the trouble to find a two-star general who had no conscience problems with same-sex marriage who was happy to sign the certificate. So this sergeant got what he wanted, with Col. Bohannon’s help, and got it from a higher ranking officer.
You’d think a mature human being would express gratitude to the colonel for going the extra mile, be happy for the colonel that a solution had been found that did not defile his conscience, and go happily into retirement.
But no. With the homosexual activist movement, there is no room for accommodation. For them, it is homosexuality uber alles. Every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty, as Col. Bohannon’s experience illustrates. Big Gay wasn’t content to live and let live - they wanted Bohannon punished, silenced, and driven out of the military for having the effrontery to believe in marriage as God has designed and defined it. And they very nearly got their wish.
They nailed him on an “unlawful discrimination” charge. Now there certainly was unlawful discrimination here, but Col Bohannon was the victim, not the perpetrator of it.
The discrimination against Bohannon was not only unlawful, it was unconstitutional. The First Amendment makes it clear as glass that the federal government is forbidden to interfere in any way with the “free exercise” of religion. Well, that’s exactly what the government, in the form of the United States Air Force, was doing to Col. Bohannon. Whatever else was happening here, his constitutional right to exercise his religious faith was not only not protected, it was obliterated.
But thanks to the skillful work of Hiram Sasser of First Liberty Institute, the Air Force was compelled to reverse its decision. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced yesterday that the director of the Air Force Review Boards Agency had ruled in Bohannon’s favor.
“The director concluded that Colonel Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same sex spouse of an Airman in his command,” said Ms. Wilson.
As Mr. Sasser put it, “This is clear evidence that the Trump administration is helping to right the ship at the Pentagon.” President Trump campaigned on the promise to protect religious liberty, and so far he is keeping his promise.
There will be more battles to fight, as our government is riddled with Obama holdovers who have a visceral hatred of Christianity and want every trace of it removed from public life. But this is a huge win and a sign that a brighter day is dawning in our nation’s Capitol.