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Published On: Thu, Aug 7th, 2014

US soldier Natham Sommers file discrimination case after discharge over bumper stickers, Rush Limbaugh and Chick-fil-A

Chick-Fil-A cow toy photo/Phroziac via wikimedia commons

Former US Soldier Nathan Sommers alleges some Chick-fil-A, conservative books and bumper stickers led to his discharge from the Army Chick-Fil-A cow toy photo/Phroziac via wikimedia commons

A member of the U.S. Army Band said he was forced out of the U.S. Army for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at a party and reading books written by conservative authors like Sean Hannity and having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his personal car. The lawsuits notes discrimination and calls for a return to full active with pay and benefits.

Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers, 25, is a decorated soloist in the U.S. Army Band Chorus and claims he was forcibly retired from the Army due to his religious and conservative political beliefs. Back in 2012, Sommers’ story came to light when he first faced retribution and punishmet for his “Political Dissent is NOT Racism,” “NOBAMA,” NOPE2012” and “The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Ass-Fault” on his personal vehicle. The Chick-fil-A story and other “harassments” followed.

His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating “unnecessary workplace tension.”

“The types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,” the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. “A Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”

“Those who protect our rights must be allowed to exercise them,” said John Wells, an attorney representing Sommers. “Master Sergeant Sommers did nothing to interfere with good order and discipline. He was the perfect soldier.”

Sommers, who was based at Fort Myer in Washington, D.C., is the recipient of an Army commendation medal and was a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford.

Sommers was reading Rush Limbaugh’s book backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing “unit disruption” and was offending other soldiers.

“I wasn’t reading aloud,” he said. “I was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.”

In another episode, he had been caught backstage reading a copy of Mark Levin’s book, in which he was told to refrain from reading the book “while in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.”

“This is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,” he said. “The statement took my breath away. I was speechless.”

The incident that really seemed to set off the chain of events that led to his forced retirement happened in 2012 and involved Chick-fil-A sandwiches – in honor of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“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,” he tweeted. That tweet came under fire from his superior officers, according to an official military document.

“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.

Sommers told Fox News that he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds.  “I had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,” he said.

Retired Navy Commander John Bennett Wells told Fox News the disciplinary charges stemmed from giving a superior officer the wrong date for a doctor’s appointment. He’s also accused of failing to carry out an order. In order to comply with that order, Sommers would have had to disclose private information about his autistic son’s medical records.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin told Fox News it appears the Army is trying to send a message to not only Sommers but others in his unit.

“Over my 36 years in the US Army I saw numerous situations like this where a soldier is singled out by the chain of command for punishment,” Boykin said. “The Article 15 proceeding may be technically legitimate, but one must recognize that an Army Master Sergeant with 25 years does not normally do stupid things that are easily avoidable unless there is some mitigating circumstance.”

Boykin then asked whether the chain of command would be doing this if it were not for his outspoken Christian faith and his unwillingness to compromise on what he believes.

“It seems to me that the chain of command has failed to deter him from his beliefs and has resorted to this step now,” he said.

“Congress has enacted laws to protect the free expression of religious beliefs in the armed forces,” Wells said. “The Army Band broke those laws and they will be held accountable.”

“I am certain that General ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, a true leader, is spinning in his grave at the actions taken by the organization that bears his name,” he added.

The lawsuit calls for Sommers to be returned to active duty service with full pay and benefits. 

 

I first told you about Sommers last year in a series of exclusive Fox News reports.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Soldier Claims He Was Forced Out Of Army For Serving Chick Fil A, Reading Hannity says:

    […] set of incidents stemmed from Sommers’ choice of reading material. According to The Global Dispatch, the soldier claims that he was backstage at an Army band concert, in full uniform, and reading a […]

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