Beliefs RNS Press Release Service

Air Force veteran kicked off military base over speech including “God”

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today, First Liberty Institute sent a demand letter to military leaders, asking them to apologize for assaulting Oscar Rodriguez, a decorated Air Force veteran with over thirty years of military service, and kicking him off Travis Air Force Base for giving a speech that included the word “God.”

Read the demand letter

Air Force Master Sergeant Charles Roberson heard Rodriguez deliver a patriotic flag-folding speech at a retirement ceremony and asked Rodriguez to give the same speech at Roberson’s retirement ceremony on April 3, held at Travis Air Force Base. “I saw Oscar perform the speech live just one month prior to my own retirement ceremony and I really wanted him to be able to perform that same way at my ceremony,” said MSgt Roberson.

Watch video of MSgt Roberson

Rodriguez agreed to Roberson’s request, but when he began the patriotic flag-folding speech at the retirement ceremony, multiple uniformed Airmen assaulted and forcibly removed Rodriguez because his speech included the word “God.” After dragging him out of the retirement ceremony, Travis Air Force Base personnel ordered Rodriguez off the base.

Watch video of the incident

“It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life,” says Rodriguez. “I have given more than three decades of service to the military and made many sacrifices for my country. To have the Air Force assault me and drag me out of a retirement ceremony simply because my speech included the word ‘God’ is something I never expected from our military.”

“The Air Force had no right to assault a citizen, much less a 33-year military veteran, because they didn’t want him to mention ‘God,’” says Mike Berry, Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty Institute. “Mr. Rodriguez has a constitutional right to free speech and religious expression, even on a military base. The military broke the law and abused its power. We expect the Air Force to hold those responsible accountable, and allow Mr. Rodriguez to continue honoring the flag and other veterans who have sacrificed for our country.”

First Liberty Institute attorneys asked the Air Force to respond by June 27 or else they will be prepared to “pursue all available legal options.”

Read more about the case at

About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

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  • He didn’t say anything, including a statement about a god. He got up and right away someone came behind him and asked him to sit down. It’s wrong to say he was thrown out for saying god, when the video shows him not saying anything but just walking up.

  • Oscar Rodriguez = USA American. I stand with Oscar for free speech everywhere even on military bases & especially to speak freely about God. May God bless Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Institute & may God always protect and bless our nation.

  • So, you are reading a religious news site. Since you are all for keeping God in a box, out of sight..and apparently an unbeliever,.why are you bothering to read sites such as this!!

  • Enemies of God at work. Trying to silence His mane in a country He built. Let’s not invite God’s wrath upon us.

  • Our parish is having a pot luck dinner this weekend. Should I send RNS a press release? Maybe I can find a straight person to agree to make a fuss about sitting next to a gay person and we’ll film it it for YouTube. It will be great publicity. What do you say?

  • Are you kidding? Then I’d be gullible enough to believe this manure. When encountering something too difficult to believe, the answer is not to double down on idiocy.

  • Maybe instead of mocking, you should try reading… like, the bible and the koran. They are referencing the same God. Willful ignorance is just sad.

  • From watching the video,it appears that Sgt.Rodriguez decided on his own he was going to speak.It appears that his passion overrules good judgment.

  • You are quite apt at making bald assertions without evidence or nuance. The 1st Amendment is not abrogated by any geographical limitations relative to government installations. Further, Jesus instructed us to pray in our closets, but to declare the gospel openly to the world. Your inclination to require people of faith to limit their expressions to faith centers and closets is a form of religious and speech discrimination. Nor is Allah (historically a moon god), Yahweh.

  • What then are we to make of the quoted remarks above, by Master Sgt. Roberson? I would agree with those who suspect there is a better and clearer narrative of this event than stated here and would like to hear it.

  • See my response to above. Your ignorance is not an excuse, and mocking does not make your case stronger.

  • No, Quran says Allah is a great deceiver. The Holy Scripture says the deceiver is the devil. It’s a barbaric religion void of good.

  • The framework which the U.S. is attempting to establish to override morality; in claiming that these underpinnings are a right under democracy, can be looked upon as convoluted. From the point of view of right and wrong, this nation speaks of morals and moral obligations; yet, we fail to realize in navigating the ship of morality. This nation is wandering down the road of darkness, and the light which they seek; they cannot see. The U.S. has not followed after behavior which is good and virtuous; rather instituting false doctrines based upon the actual or existing condition, or state; then enacting artificial laws in place of the truth.

    False mandates expressly prepared as a means to cease the dispersion of chaos encompassing this nation shall serve as a reminder as to the deceptive principles that we are trying to set in place. The U.S. is suffering from delirium, and incoherence; as being in a continual state of intense excitement; by waiting aimlessly for an enemy which is only engulfed in their fear, and reprobate minds. The U.S. speaks of morality concerning the killing of others, yet this nation delivers death to their own in the continuum of suppressing the people. This nation refuses to recognize immorality as a passage of a distorted measure, but only enjoins confusion through judicial orders. One can observe these actions as speaking with a double tongue, in initiating a false occupation on the fidelity of truth.

    As the courts continue to block moral standards, foregoing the origin of the Divine Law, as given by Our Creator: this nation is abandoned to damnation. The U.S. has forsaken the established foundation set in place from the beginning of time by the Word which was manifested in the flesh. Perversion is encompassing the land, drunkenness has become commonplace, and trying to establish false doctrine as an enduring visage shall become destruction to the land. The rope which the U.S. has used shall be the rope which hangs themselves.

    The children which are the branch of their parent’s are becoming infected with a disease unseen, as their memory, disposition, and character are being changed right before our eyes. We regard not the appearance of the child any longer; but only look upon our offspring as an element of nature, not of Elohim. Morality must be ingrained to the child at the early stages of development. When a nation decides to entertain evil, trample upon moral values, and to placate , or pacify, that which is unbecoming; this is surely a testament to the ideals on a nation in decline.

    This formation of unsound principles is a starting position for evil to be inducted into the conscious of every person, by the ongoing stages of false deceptions: as trying to overcome the light. This type of approach is being combined with division, as trying to pit one against another, race against race, religion against religion, peoples against peoples, nations against nations; are all maneuvers to keep those in power by remaining in a position of authority. The powers that be are continually delving upon ways, wicked ways to suppress all which try to intrude upon their worldly plan to maintain control. What they know not is that their time, the time they have been given is only for a season.

    How can a nation speak of morality when that nation itself implements false teachings, trying to infuse perpetual clauses founded upon the wind? As not any know where the wind comes from or where it goes, so not any shall know of the day, time or hour that has been ordained before any were. We were given instruction as to the condition of the world on the return of Our Savior, Yahshua the messiah. He is Our Prince of Peace and there is not any other. ©

  • What little I have been able to find on this incident simply confirms what you said.

  • I looked, and was unable to find much of anything. It appears– but appears is perhaps putting it too strongly– that the “victim” was forbidden to speak because of other, irrelevant issues.

  • There is no holy scripture. Only strings of barbaric words and primitive beliefs, as men tried to rationalize their world without science.

  • Yes, that is exactly what has kept people on their knees, head bowed for centuries. Not the love of Jesus, or even of humanity, just the fear of burning in some non-existent eternity.

  • The fact that the speech contained the word “God” is as relevant to what happened as that the speech contained the word “the.” In other words, it wasn’t the reference to God that led to this event, as much as the self-made Christian martyrs promoting that narrative would like to believe. The problem was the presentation of the speech itself by Rodriguez. Check other news sources, and don’t rely just on this one-sided and clearly tendentious press piece.

  • Do you understand the universal compassion of Yellow Hat thought? Have you EVER heard the Dalai Lama speak of gods? Have you heard him pray?

  • First of all, “god” without a capital “G” represents a pagan idol. Your disrespect for the Living God is obvious from the get go. Secondly you don’t “keep” God anywhere! The Living God, the Creator of all things, fills the universe and transcends it. Thirdly, if you are going to quote Jesus, why not use chapter and verse? More so, why not quote fully and in context? The Jesus who said, “Render unto Caesar” also said “Render unto God the things that are God’s”, implying total loyalty and gratitude and worship in all aspects of human life. It is this Creator God that Thomas Jefferson, though clearly not a Christian, recognized as the source of all our human rights. Rights such as free speech, to which you are so clearly opposed.

    Lastly, why don’t trolls like you just stay under your stinking bridge?

  • 1) Chapter and verse, please. And give us the full quote. 2) Living god? Really? Have you seen it outside of the bible? 3) I keep god in my purse, and take it out at parties 4) Respect? For what? 5) Duh! It stinks down there. 6) Seriously, aren’t we grown up enough to dispense with make believe?

  • I’ll put my knowledge of the Bible against yours’ any day of the week, having spent more than 35 years in intense study of it, led by qualified seminarians. Yahweh and Allah are manifestly in no sense of the word, the ‘same” God.

  • Don’t want to gore anybody’s particular ox, maybe there’s less here than meets the eye.

  • Hardly to the point. The issue is the 1st Amendment, not particular beliefs about the existence of God.

  • Hey, look at that, you already lost. So much for your 35 years of intense study. Maybe you should have tried something easier.

  • No. You are trying to make the constitution the issue. It is not. Religion has no place on a military base. The military needs to concentrate on reality, not the blowhard superstitions of the weak.

  • I don’t think you are qualified for that job!….unless you are named ‘Holy Spirit’ . Jesus said that He would send Holy Spirit to do that. And if we don’t listen, He will disipline us as children.

  • If there is a god who burns his children like Molech. Is this what you believe? That god burns his children for eternity, while he condemns Molech for only burning them to death?

  • Because you asked:

    Matthew 22:15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

    18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

    21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

    Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

  • Dear so- called Found One (whatever that is supposed to mean, you strike me as profoundly lost). I do not have the Divine discernment that Jesus showed in the Matthew 22 passage but it doesn’t take that much to see that, like the Herodians, you are NOT a seeker of truth. You just like to thumb your nose at everything decent and pat yourself on the back for being so clever. It’s not clever, it’s infantile, or at best, adolescent. Grow up and start thinking seriously . You could die and enter ETERNITY today. Wake up buddy, it’s not a game! BTW, I could tell you a lot about God’s love (He experienced death for you you know) but when a person is on a self-destructive path, (such as walking in front of an 18 wheeler truck or not taking God seriously), an appeal to reasonable fear is often the kindest intervention.
    Regarding seeing God (a person, not an “it), you remind me of the cosmonauts who came back from space and declared that they had seen no God. What did they expect, a giant eyeball pressed against their window? Fortunately God and not Gary Larsen is in charge of the universe. If you cannot see the wondrous, breathtaking, awesome evidence of God the Creator’s existence on earth, you will be equally blind to it in space. Read Anthony Flew (ex-atheist) and Stephen Meyer (Signature in the Cell) and see the dazzling evidence at the microbiological level for a Designer God.
    Oh clever one, please answer two simple questions:
    1). Where did the universe come from? and
    2). Where did life and personhood come from?
    Work on those two (seriously not flippantly) and I might be willing to grant you your self-applied label of grown up. At the moment I don’t see it. Let me give you a mathematical leg- up to save you some wasted effort: there has NOT been enough time since the creation of the universe for Chance to bring about life. And PLEASE do not bring up the multiverse theory which is Materialistic dogma, positing an explanation that, by definition, can never be observed and must be believed without evidence!

  • Please do not preach about a god who has not had enough time to create such a vast universe, and do not give me superstitious dogma, which can never be observed, and does not have any evidence, such as all that for Abiogenesis and a naturally occurring universe. Really, do an online search. God is a useless hypothesis, for which we have no need.

  • So a man looked at a coin. If the story were true. But since no human is a mind reader, I would judge the author of this to be telling a tale, since he could not know the mind of Jesus. (Knowing their evil intent) How would the anonymous author of the gospel of Matthew know the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus? Perhaps they only wanted the guy’s opinion. Not only is this 2 cases of mind reading, it is mind reading at a distance of 40 years minimum!

  • Of course I do. I just think its unreal to imagine that the Dalai Lama doesn’t espouse religion. There are tenets, a prophet, and the fear of eternal reprisals if you’re not “good.” What’s the difference? So he doesn’t “pray” like Christians do. It’s still religion. Do YOU understand?