Curt Cizek, a former Air Force chaplain, is calling believers to fight for religious freedom after he was let go from the military for preaching a message that addressed sexual immorality.
“Men put so much of who they are into what they do and having that rug pulled out from underneath me was difficult to go through," Cizek told CBN News in a recent interview.
He explained how in 2013, he had preached a sermon to recruits at Lackland Air Force Base. Prior to his message, Cizek had never faced repercussions for preaching.
“The message was about sin that we don't think is that bad,” Cizek said, adding that scriptures on sexual immorality were included.
“If you're having sex with somebody that you're not married to, then you need to stop,” he recalled. “I said, 'you know, sometimes the Christian church has gotten the reputation for being prejudiced because we look at one sin, homosexuality, and then we turn a blind eye and don't say anything about heterosexual sin, and that's hypocritical.”
Following the message, Cizek would experience a series of events that led to his eventual discharge. He told CBN News that it began when a lesbian trainee filed a complaint alleging that he said, “homosexuals were going to burn in hell.” Cizek asserts that he never made those remarks in his message.
The trainee’s complaint would reach an openly lesbian commander working in basic training and in Cizek’s words, she “wouldn’t let it go.”
“My performance reports were down-graded, my promotion recommendation was downgraded,” he explained. “I got passed over for promotion twice and involuntarily separated from the Air Force in 2016.”
He also noted that 2,500 trainees heard that day's sermon and as far as he knows, only one person filed a complaint.
Sadly, Cizek was not able to retire from the Air Force despite having nearly 30 years of service, with almost 20 years being on active duty. He added that while it's a net loss of more than a million dollars in pension and health benefits, there is a bigger issue at hand.
"Even if I did say what she said that I said, it's covered by my First Amendment right to preach and teach according to my religious beliefs," Cizek said. "Either we believe that everybody has First Amendment rights, or we don't."
Cizek’s attorney, Paul Platte added that all Cizek wants to do is “serve God and serve his country.”
“Air Force regulations specifically allowed him to give that type of sermon,” he explained. “The First Amendment protects his freedom of speech and freedom of religion. So, quite frankly, we think it's preposterous what happened to him.”
They noted that the Air Force never wrote that Cizek’s sermon resulted in the poor performance reports but that he violated unrelated protocols, which Cizek denies.
Cizek, who after appealing to the highest levels of the Air Force, received a document that supposedly explained the reasons for the decision, but the text had been redacted.
“Here at the top of the page it says the reasons for the decision and then it blanks out everything explaining the reason for the decision," Platte said as he held up the document. "But we know why because he was disciplined three days after he gave the sermon about sexual immorality.”
According to a statement sent to CBN News, Air Force officials explained that Cizek alleged that he was a victim of reprisal.
The statement reads, in part: “The applicant, Curt Cizek, alleges he has been the victim of reprisal. … based on the board's review, they do not conclude the applicant has been the victim of reprisal. the board maintains the applicant has failed to establish that …”
Cizek has also reached out to lawmakers and even the White House for assistance.
While the office of the Vice President referred his case to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records for reconsideration, officials there refused to re-open his case. At the present time, the Department of Defense Inspector General's office is taking Cizek’s case into account.
Cizek is calling on Christians to help him in the matter and asserting that religious and individual freedom is at stake.
“This is a time for conservative Christians to be heard letting their legislators, letting the White House, letting the Air Force, letting the Secretary of Defense know how they feel," he argued. “The real intolerance is preventing people from speaking the truth. that's the real intolerance and bigotry that exists in our nation today.”
Cizek believes that time is short as Joe Biden may be taking office in January and is unsure as to whether or not his administration would hear him out.
Citizens seeking to help Cizek can email the White House on his behalf.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Im Yeongsik
If you are concerned that the government is giving Christians LESS FREEDOM than other similar people groups then your support is needed to defend religious freedom. Find out how you can join with Alliance Defending Freedom to protect your religious freedoms.
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.