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Lawsuit says soldier kicked out of Army for being conservative Christian

Soldier sues Army after being forced to retire over Christian beliefs
Soldier sues Army after being forced to retire over Christian beliefs
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Townhall's Todd Starnes reported that Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army, filed a lawsuit claiming he was forced out of the Army for essentially holding conservative views. Last June, we first reported that Sommers, a decorated soloist with the U.S. Army Band Chorus, was ordered not to read books by conservative authors and was under fire for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.

Sommers, Starnes said, claims he was forcibly retired due to his conservative political and religious beliefs. According to attorney John Wells, Sommers drew the ire of his superiors for opposing gay marriage. He first got into trouble for displaying anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car. Wells said the Army took no action against soldiers with pro-Obama stickers.

"Those who protect our rights must be allowed to exercise them,” Wells said. “Master Sergeant Sommers did nothing to interfere with good order and discipline. He was the perfect soldier.” Starnes noted that Sommers received an Army Commendation Medal and was a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford.

Wells went on to say that the band, named "Pershing's Own," after Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing, violated a religious freedom law passed by Congress. He also accused the band of betraying the Army's core principles.

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

In one incident recounted by Starnes, Sommers was caught backstage reading a copy of David Limbaugh’s “The Great Destroyer” to himself. A superior officer got upset and claimed he was causing “unit disruption” and offended other soldiers.

"It’s a good thing Sommers wasn’t caught reading my latest book, 'God Less America,'” Starnes said. "He probably would’ve been tossed into a prison cell at Fort Leavenworth."

But the straw that broke the camel's back involved chicken breasts -- from Chick-fil-A. In honor of the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," Sommers chose to serve sandwiches from the fast-food chain, and announced it in a tweet that superiors didn't like.

“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 said on Twitter. His superiors got so upset they filed an official Army document addressing the issue.

“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 Army document said.

The Army ordered Sommers discharged on July 31, but he was allowed to retire as he had over 25 years of service. The lawsuit was filed the next day, Starnes said.

Starnes noted that Christians in the military face a "clear and present danger" from an administration he said "seems hell-bent on marginalizing Christianity and punishing Christians who refuse to stifle their beliefs." Last December, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely told Examiner the military is purging Christianity while promoting an understanding of Islam.