6 April 2018 Press Release


Contact Phil Wright at pwright@chaplainalliance.org or (612) 250-2072, or Craig Muehler at cmuehler@chaplainalliance.org or (314) 996-1346

Chaplains support Secretary of the Air Force in reversal of discrimination finding against Col. Bohannon

WASHINGTON— The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty commends the Secretary of the Air Force for her recent decision to reverse a senior commander’s finding that would have punished Colonel Leland Bohannon for an alleged violation of anti-discrimination policies. Sec. Heather Wilson’s decision clears his name of wrongdoing and restores his highly decorated service record. 

Col. Bohannon’s career had been threatened by an Air Force investigation because he followed his deeply held religious belief in biblical marriage and, therefore, could not in good conscience sign a certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of a retiring master sergeant in his unit — without appearing to validate that relationship. Despite the fact that Bohannon applied for a religious accommodation, the insuing investigation led to an initial finding of discrimination. 

“The Secretary’s action, in line with the Commander in Chief’s executive order and federal guidance regarding the religious liberty of all service members and federal employees, is a notice to all that freedom of religion is protected and must be respected,” said Chaplain (Col.) Phil Wright, USA retired, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

“To discriminate and punish the deeply held religious beliefs of service personnel is to attack their integrity and their personal self-worth. Denigrating anyone in that way would seem to undermine them, their peers, and their respective missions. General George Marshall said it best:” ‘The soldier's heart, the soldier's spirit, the soldier's soul, are everything. Unless the soldier's soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end.’

Chaplain Alliance for Religious Libertyis an organization of chaplain endorsers, the religious faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains. The endorsers in Chaplain Alliance collectively endorse more than two-thirds of the 5,500 military chaplains serving in the Armed Forces.