Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Suit Challenges Air Force's Ban On Religious Flag-Folding Script At Retirement Ceremony

A suit was filed yesterday by two retired Air Force officers against the Air Force and several current officers complaining about action taken by defendants to prevent one of the plaintiffs from reading a religious-themed tribute to the American flag at the retirement ceremony of the other plaintiff.  The complaint (full text) in Rodriguez v. U.S. Department of the Air Force, (D DC, filed 4/2/2018), sets out a lengthy history of flag-folding ceremonies at Air Force retirement events.  It contends that retiring Master Sergeant Charles Roberson  invited retired Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez, Jr. to read the flag script Rodriguez had developed (full text), despite orders to the contrary by the Squadron Commander.  Three uniformed Airmen removed Rodriguez from the stage as he began to read his script.  The suit alleges that this violated plaintiffs' free speech and free exercise rights, as well as Rodriguez' Fourth Amendment and Due Process rights. First Liberty issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.