First Liberty Briefing: Does Ditching Commercialized Christmas to Serve the Less Fortunate Violate the First Amendment?

First Liberty Briefing: Does Ditching Commercialized Christmas to Serve the Less Fortunate Violate the First Amendment? August 30, 2017

An atheist group attacked Sergeant Larry Gallo and his family after they were featured in an Air Force publication highlighting their medical missions trip to Central America. The group went as far as equating their missions trip to the Crusades and demanding that the publication be removed. To learn more:

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Does Larry Gallo’s Serving the Poor Violate the First Amendment?

They were sick of a commercialized Christmas. The presents and general distraction from what they believed to be a season meant to remind us of something deeper led Larry Gallo and his family to look for something different.

So, they left behind the packages and bows to serve the less fortunate in Central America.

Does Larry Gallo's Serving the Poor Violate the First Amendment?
Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo’s job on this day was to entertain the children with coloring while their parents are being seen by medical staff. (Courtesy photo posted by AFRC)

Larry’s girls are physician’s assistants so it was natural for them to take on a medical missions role. Larry, a maintenance engineer, discovered that the kids in line needed some company. So, as his daughters provide the medicine, Larry kept the kids happy.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, Larry Gallo is better known as Sergeant Larry Gallo.

When the U.S. Air Force featured Gallo’s story in one of their publications, an atheist group said the article violated the First Amendment. They even alleged that Gallo’s story, “emboldens our Islamic enemies because we look like Crusaders and it enrages our Islamic allies.” They wanted the article taken down.

After a quick Internet search recently, I discovered that the article in question is still active on an Air Force website—and it should be. The Air Force should never cave to demands of censoring religion from public view. It should never punish those service members who put service over self, even outside the line of duty.

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