Hopper Writes on Inviting Mikey Weinstein to Dinner

US Air Force Major Christina “Thumper” Hopper, recently made famous as a target of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, wrote an email to Weinstein last Wednesday with a brief outline of the event her husband’s “invitation to dinner” had become. The letter was intended for publication, and Weinstein duly posted it on his website. It seems to have been written at least in part as a result of Bob Lawrence’s blog a few days earlier.

In the letter, Hopper explains why they invited Mikey Weinstein to dinner after he denigrated her online:

My husband and I invited Mikey to dinner because we strive to live in harmony with others and hold to the biblical principle that if possible, as far as it depends on us, we should live peaceably with all (Rom 12:18). So, we wanted the opportunity to meet Mikey, find out what he was all about, and give him the opportunity to see what we were all about. We agreed to have dinner followed by a small, by-invitation only, forum to discuss religious freedom in the military.

As orginally discussed, that’s admirable on their parts, particularly given the invective with which Weinstein had treated Hopper. Few other husbands would likely have been so kind after seeing their wives degraded by someone online.

There’s really not much more substantive within the letter/blog from Hopper. She closes with a paragraph that says the night “changed [her]”, without really saying much more.

Her last two sentences are probably the most interesting of the short post, and seem to show she’s either of two minds or subtly working on the soul that attacked her. First:

When we open ourselves up to see someone we disagree with as a human being, worthy of dignity and respect, we have taken a step toward true freedom.

Though almost a throwaway line, it’s also a pretty significant dig at Weinstein — the man who failed to see Hopper as a human being, leading to this very meeting. Weinstein’s inability to treat those with whom he disagrees with “dignity and respect” is legendary, as are the affectionate appellations and hateful invective he imparts on those unfortunate souls. Hopper herself was one of those victims of such disrespect.

Lastly, Hopper said:

Though the circumstances that introduced me to Mikey were painful, I am thankful that I met him, know him, and can call him friend.

Again, an implicit dig at Weinstein, since he alone was responsible for the “painful circumstances” that led to their introduction.  Still, she goes on in a conciliatory tone to say she “can call him friend.”

What’s missing in all of this, of course, is a concilitory tone from Mikey Weinstein. He was the one who criticized and denigrated Hopper, but one might have thought it the other way around from the recent posts. That Hopper does not demand an apology of Weinstein — or a retraction of Weinstein’s invective that remains online even now — is an example of her personal grace and mercy, and it is admirable that she should seek to call him friend.

But where does that leave Air Force Captain Austin Krohn?

He was the other Air Force officer slammed by Mikey Weinstein in the same diatribe, with Weinstein concluding that these two Christian officers were “air crusaders” who were part of a “fundamentalist Christian coup” of

holy warriors who are “bombing for Jesus” whilst under the dizzying spell of horrific religious extremist delusions [in this] fanatical, swiftly growing mainstream presence of religious extremism in the U.S. armed forces…

What is to be done? Punishing the brazenly imperious and arrogant offenders and their chain-of-command enablers is a damn good first step.

It wasn’t just Hopper that was criticized as an “extremist” worthy of punishment, according to Weinstein. Hopper and Krohn are just two of many that Weinstein targets with vitriol and demand for punishment simply because he disagrees with their faith. (Remember Hopper’s admonition about disagreement?) What of the others? What of the chaplains? What of the entire corps of Christian officers who participate in Officers’ Christian Fellowship that Weinstein called “a malignant and malevolent” group made up of “Jesus Jihadis”?

It’s great that Hopper has reached a private détente with Mikey Weinstein. It may very well help her to “live peaceably with all men.” But what of the others who have been victimized by Weinstein’s disregard for human dignity, or who may continue to read Weinstein’s attacks on Hopper that remain unaffected by his private apology?

Unfortunately, to this point Weinstein seems to be doing little more than milking the “a Christian said she likes me” angle without acknowledging any wrongdoing on his part.  In other words, it’s almost as if he’s trying to benefit from both the attack on Hopper and her conciliatory dinner invitation.

There are thousands of other Christians in the US military who have been or will be attacked by Mikey Weinstein, just as Hopper was. He has attacked Christians in the military en masse, calling Christians “bloody monsters” and worse, as well as demanding courts-martial for many Christians (besides Hopper) who have done little more than expressed their faith.  What impact does this outcome have on them, or those Christians who may be weighing joining the military but have reservations about their ability to make simple statements of faith?

To that point, Weinstein’s blogs attacking Hopper, Krohn, and Christians in general remain published. Regrettably, young Christian women who look may look to Hopper as a role model may see only two things: her simple statement of faith in an Air Force article, and Weinstein’s demonization of her for that statement.

Missing is Hopper’s assurance to those young women that they, too, can speak their faith just as she did, with confidence.  Hopper could provide that reassurance without demonizing Weinstein, of course, as she certainly would want to do.  Remaining silent, which she has done to date except to call her attacker a friend, may help her live in peace with others, but it could also be a great discouragement to those who would like to follow in her footsteps, as well as her peers who find themselves seeking support after being similarly attacked by Weinstein.

There’s no reason at this point to doubt Weinstein’s attacks on Christians in the military will continue… unless he’s changed his ways after dinner with the Hoppers.

That remains the last hope. Weinstein has yet to say anything about the event, something that is in character if saying something would actually harm, rather than help, his cause. Presumably, at some level he recognizes the dissonance between demonizing Hopper on one hand while playing-up the conciliatory dinner invitation on the other. Perhaps, though, there is yet a mustard seed growing within him that will enable him to respect the Christians with whom he disagrees. Perhaps.

Unfortunately, since the Hopper visit Weinstein has continued his invective against Christians in the military, as he did, for example, in his screed against US Army Chaplain (Maj) Mark Winton. So the hope may yet have already faded.