On the Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page, Stein had previously referred to the President as a liar. He also alluded to the fact that he would not follow certain orders that were issued by the president.
“I took an oath to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and I will not obey unconstitutional (and thus illegal) and immoral orders,” Stein wrote on his personal Facebook page.
In a statement referenced by ABC News, an other-than-honorable discharge like the one that Stein received is given to people serving in the Marines who commit a serious offense that significantly differs from they type of conduct expected of a Marine.
The events that culminated in Stein’s discharge began in January, when he called Obama a liar and referred to the President as “the ‘Domestic Enemy’ our oath speaks about.” In March, he also questioned the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate.
Stein was discharged because of a Defense Department rule that forbids US citizens serving in the armed forces to participate in certain forms of political activity and activism, including publishing partisan content.
Stein believes he has behaved appropriately, because the Facebook group page he posted the offending content on states that members “do not represent, and are in no way affiliated with the military, or United States Armed Forces.”
“If I am guilty of anything it would be that I am American, a freedom loving Conservative, hell bent on defending the constitution and preserving Americas greatness,” posted Stein.
People are up in arms about reports of companies firing their employees over Facebook posts — but what if someone makes derogatory comments about their boss, and their boss happens to be the president of the U.S.?
That’s exactly the case for Sgt. Gary Stein, a Marine who may be dismissed from military service after criticizing President Barack Obama on his Facebook account. A Marine Corps administrative board suggested Stein be released on an other-than-honorable discharge for his posts, according to the Associated Press. Such a discharge would strip Stein of his military benefits.
Stein posted several jabs at the president, including an image of a Jackass movie posted edited to feature Obama’s face. Stein also posted that he would not follow the president’s orders, but he later backtracked somewhat, saying he would not follow unlawful orders — including arresting U.S. citizens, taking their lawfully-owned weapons or violating their constitutional rights.
According to Stein, who’s served nine years in the Marines, his comments came during a debate about allowing NATO to put American soldiers on trial for the burning of Muslim holy books in Afghanistan last month.
The Marine’s lawyers argued that Stein’s actions are protected under the First Amendment.
“We’re truly surprised and disappointed but it was an honor to fight for a hero like Sgt. Stein and every other Marine’s right to speak freely,” said Stein’s defense attorney.
However, members of the military are subject to stricter rules concerning free speech than civilians. Military men and women in uniform are barred from joining political clubs, for instance. All members of the military are expected to follow the orders of the president, who serves as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Capt. John Torresala, the prosecutor in the case, also warned that Stein’s postings might’ve had a negative impact on the behavior of younger Marines.
Stein told the Marines board that he loved serving in the military and that he was planning on re-enlisting when his current tour of duty ended six months from now. His case is to be considered by a Marines general, who may agree with the board and dismiss Stein or send the case to the secretary of the Navy.