SANANTONIO -- As pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church, Steve Branson counsels his congregation through the rough spots. And lately, Branson said his military men and women have been complaining about persecution.

They share stories of things dealing with Don t ask, don t tell. and some dealing with some anti-Christian bias that they ve experienced, said Branson.

Sgt. Phillip Monk is among those in Branson s Sunday audience. Monk is the master sergeant who claims he was relieved of his duties over his religious views on gay marriage.

Lackland s 37th Training Wing said he was moved as part of a scheduled rotation.

But Branson said Monk s Christian attitude isn t the only thing under attack at Joint Base San Antonio.

They (other airmen) just started telling me, this is what s going on. He s not the only one, said Branson.

Branson was one of many local preachers who spoke out against changes to San Antonio s non-discrimination ordinance to protect gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals.

That condemnation gained him a national stage, with guest appearances on dozens of television and radio programs.

And Branson said he s captured the ear of many of the military s top brass, relaying stories from those who serve and who feel forced to remain silent.

The way I understand it, they cannot speak. It could ruin their careers. You don t want to lose guys like these. They are the kind of men who ought to lead our military, said Branson.

Branson has penned a letter, detailing the problems he says his military friends cannot.

That letter has been reportedlyforwardedtomembers of the House Armed Services Committee for review.

Branson said it s a review the Air Force needs to consider, despite recent changes to its policies.

New rules

Branson said the complaint from within the rank and file is that the homosexual agenda gets preferential treatment.

I m a pastor and these are my sheep. I m the shepherd and I m going to do my best to protect them, he said.


The Letter Steve Branson wrote:

I have spent all day working on this in interviews with press and discussion with others and here is what I am seeing as a pastor who is on the outside of military looking in.

The sexual assaults that took place at Lackland a couple of years ago has led to new policies that are paralyzing the training of new troops. MTI (Military Training Instructors) are afraid to do their jobs. They are being investigated for just about everything possible. Some of my men have been mirandized 8 or 9 times. Add on top of this, the removal of Don't ask, Don't tell and things have gotten progressively worse. You have several airmen and officers that are going over the top with their gay lifestyle and beliefs. If my men react or say anything that is against the gays or ignored the gay's concerns, they are disciplined. They (gay and lesbian) can talk about their lifestyle, but the rest have to stay completely quiet about what they believe. A couple of the stories that have been revealed to me have stunned me, it is hard to believe that these stories are happening in the military. Many of the men in my church that serve at Lackland are very unhappy in their positions, and the talk is now on how fast can they get out of the military. I know these men personally and these are very good men who have served their country with honor and dignity for a long time. They loved their jobs, but the new regulations have made it almost impossible to do their jobs.

The new policies to protect from sexual assault and to protect gays and lesbians are hurting the moral of the troops. Everyone is afraid to do anything or to say anything.

The attack on Christians is taking place by some who are using the new regs to make life difficult for others. Those on the progressive left are using this time as a cover to make life difficult for believers. And in the climate that is in the nation and the military, our men and women have no defense for their beliefs.

I honestly think that most of this could be solved with a few directives from the top and a lot of this would stop and the military could get back to their jobs. If it is ignored, I see an exodus of good men and women who are serving their country, but feel like they are no longer wanted or needed. This would be a tragedy for the military and for our country.

This is my observations after hours of discussion with people here in San Antonio and from the emails that I am receiving from around the country.


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