A Midwestern lawmaker is calling on his colleagues in Congress to offer cover to an Army soldier under fire for his conservative political views and religious faith, and accusing the Obama administration of “creating a tyrannical culture of political correctness in the military.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., is introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would prevent the Army from conducting a court martial of Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers until the military first files a report for Congress to review.
“The Secretary of the Army shall provide to Congress a report on activities with respect to Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers at least 90 days prior to taking any further disciplinary or administrative action against that individual,” states Huelskamp’s amendment.
The amendment would also allow service members to sue in the event their First Amendment rights are violated. Huelskamp said the legislation will “unblock the courthouse door so that service members whose First Amendment rights have been violated by the federal government can seek redress like any other American.”
“Sgt. Sommers is the poster child for an increasingly pervasive pattern of persecution,” Huelskamp told Fox News.
Sommers, a decorated member of the U.S. Army Band, came under intense scrutiny after he was found with pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car. An Army officer informed the solider – in writing – that the stickers were creating “workplace tension.” The 25-year military veteran was also told to stop reading books written by conservative authors while in uniform. A superior officer told him that reading books by Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh was offensive to other soldiers.
Last summer, Sommers was investigated and reprimanded for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party after the fast-food chain became a rallying point for opponents of same-sex marriage due to statements by the company president.
“In honor of [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] repeal and Obama/Holder’s refusal to endorse [the Defense of Marriage Act], I’m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.” Sommers tweeted about the party.
That tweet was mentioned in an official Army document critical of the soldier’s actions.
“As a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,” the document stated.
A day after Fox News published Sommers’ story, he was slapped with an Article 15 charge – on unrelated matters – including giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctor’s appointment and refusing to disclose private information about his autistic son’s medical records.
Huelskamp believes those accusations may be trumped up.
“It appears Sgt. Sommers has been targeted for harassment and retaliation by several soldiers and superior officers because of his Judeo-Christian religious views, as well as his conservative political views,” he told Fox News.
The congressman said he has heard from a number of service members who have encountered trouble for their religious opposition to homosexuality.
“If you specifically identify as a Christian – and are opposed to the Administration’s position on homosexuality or Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, they are being punished,” he said. “The more Americans learn about this, the more they are going to be shocked about this and other incidents.”
Huelskamp places the blame squarely on the White House.
“The Obama regime’s radical secularization, intolerance and downright hostility towards traditional and conservative views is creating a tyrannical culture of political correctness in the military,” Huelskamp said.