Air Force Chaplain Curt Cizek preached a message in 2013 on adultery to a room full of military trainees at Lackland Air Force base. His sermon offended a lesbian attendee, who reported the sermon to one of the base commanders, who was also a lesbian. Soon after, the chaplain’s career in the military started going downhill, and by 2016 he was “involuntarily discharged” from the military, an action that deprives him of retiring with a full military pension and health benefits valued at over $1 million.
Cizek has been fighting the discharge ever since. The Air Force denies that he was discharged for the sermon, but rather for a series of breaches of other “unrelated protocols,” which the military won’t divulge. Unofficially, Cizek was informed by a friendly officer that it was indeed his sermon that led to his professional demise.
The sermon that caused the trouble in 2013 was a basic Christian message concerning adultery, i.e, having sex with someone you’re not married to. “The message was about sin that we don’t think is that bad,” Cizek told CBN News. “If you’re having sex with somebody that you’re not married to, then you need to stop. 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.'”
But the complaint filed by the lesbian trainee alleged that Cizek said that all homosexuals will burn in hell. Cizek denies that, and counters that even if he had said it, it would have been speech protected by the First Amendment as well as by Air Force regulations.
Following the incident, Cizek’s performance reports were downgraded, as were his promotion possibilities. When he was discharged, he asked the Air Force to put in writing the actual reasons for his being let go. The multi-page document he received consisted of nothing but redactions, so that nothing was readable.
Cizek appealed his discharge, but a military board concluded that he did not prove his case that the discharge was a reprisal for his sermon. The board refused to reconsider the case even after Vice President Mike Pence intervened on Cizek’s behalf.
Through it all, Cizek remains hopeful. He is represented by an attorney, and his case is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General. But he fears that a change in administration in January might hurt his cause.
The former chaplain requests that concerned Christians contact the White House on his behalf. If you feel so inclined, you can find a link here.
Photo from curtcizek.com