A religious liberty law firm sent a letter Wednesday demanding the Air Force rescind its punishment against Colonel Michael Madrid, who was targeted for his traditional beliefs on marriage.
In the letter, attorneys from the firm First Liberty argued that the Air Force needs to drop its politically correct attack on Madrid, or face legal action.
“Colonel Madrid is the latest victim of the extreme political correctness that is destroying our military,” Mike Berry, director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute, said. “The military should never discriminate against a service member because of his religious beliefs.”
Madrid, who is a Christian, has a long-standing history in the military as a decorated Air Force veteran, a Naval aviator and a flight surgeon. He’s served for 26 years.
As such, Madrid believes that the definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
But in 2014, when a gay airman who worked with Madrid was court-martialed over illegally prescribing narcotics and performing duties under the influence of narcotics, among other charges, the airman tried to accuse of Madrid of derogatory comments on homosexuality.
Madrid said he never made such comments and cooperated with a subsequent Air Force investigation, in which he explained in detail that he holds to traditional marriage. Investigators then closed the case, declaring the allegations unsubstantiated.
Once Madrid ended up under new commander Maj. Gen. John E. McCoy more than two years later, however, McCoy arbitrarily decided that Madrid had lied during the investigation and was actually guilty of derogatory comments.
McCoy filed a Letter of Admonishment on Madrid’s record, effectively entailing that Madrid will never be promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
First Liberty wants that Letter of Admonishment completely rescinded, saying that the Air Force violated Madrid’s due process rights.
“Colonel Madrid submitted to an extensive military investigation and the Air Force cleared him,” Berry said. “Major General McCoy has no right to ignore the rule of law and arbitrarily decide, more than two years later and without any new evidence, that he can punish Col. Madrid.”
Attorneys at First Liberty are concerned that the reason the case was dredged up once closed is because the Air Force is unduly focused on political correctness and targeting people with beliefs who don’t fit the progressive mold.
“We are concerned that Major General McCoy judged and punished Madrid – a decorated Air Force officer – because he became aware of Colonel Madrid’s traditional religious views,” Berry added. “If so, that not only harms the military, but it is illegal.”
Madrid said the Air Force’s action has left him feeling intimidated and constantly looking over his shoulder.
“I feel like I’ve been singled out because of my faith,” Madrid told Breitbart News. “Now I’m afraid if I say anything about even being a Christian, I’ll step on a landmine that could blow up my career.”
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