Faithfully Responding to a Michael (Mikey) Weinstein Attack
by Sonny Hernandez
When conservative Bible-believing Christians in the Armed Forces are vilified because of their constitutional right to exercise the tenets of their faith, it is impossible to mitigate the issue. Michael (Mikey) Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is importunate when making denigrating rhetoric against anyone in the Armed Forces who will not concur with his beloved self-conception or obscured beliefs. It can easily be deduced that the MRFF is not amicable towards religious liberty for conservative Bible-believers who are not ashamed of Christ and His Gospel. Nevertheless, Christ will be proclaimed! This is why Bible-believing Christians must know how to respond as this article will now cogently explain:
I. Comprehend Your Audience
Michael Weinstein of the MRFF masquerades as a defender of religious freedom for service men and women in the Armed Forces. He has received many appellations from those who laud his charge that specifically targets conservative Bible-believing Christians in the military, and criticism from those who oppose his harsh rhetoric and disputations. In my opinion, Weinstein has earned an infamous reputation among evangelicals. The MRFF will make threats with lawsuits and also by writing harsh articles (in which he conglomerates adjectives to appear astute and to elevate the seriousness of his position). Why does Weinstein make categorical and harsh rhetoric against conservative Bible-believing Christians? An article from the Air Force Times on Weinstein’s income will help readers ponder his possible motives:
- President/CEO 2012 compensation: $273,355
- Total 2012 revenue: $584,351
- President’s compensation as percentage of total revenue: 47%
- Total compensation of top officials: $273,355
- Number of top compensated officials listed in 2012 IRS findings: 1
- Top officials’ compensation as percentage of total revenue: 47%
Despite Weinstein’s legal threats and his incredulity, here is a question that should be asked about the validity of his threats: How many religious liberty lawsuits has Weinstein actually won? None! Several factors are adduced to explain this question.
1. First, Weinstein is not shy about lauding himself on his website or Facebook when his demands are met. How come he does not boast about his record of winning in court? In my opinion, careful research will show that Weinstein’s record for winning his “frivolous” lawsuits is a reminder that this failed lawyer cannot litigate himself out of a “wet-paper bag.”
2. Second, there is a reason Weinstein makes legal threats against Armed Forces service men and women (and their commands), and is not making ominous threats to religious liberty groups like the Liberty Institute; they have an unprecedented reputation for defending the rights of conservative Bible-believing Christians. Litigation costs money, and there is a reason Weinstein is able to make a lot of money: he makes threats that he will not follow through on because he knows he will lose due to his substandard ability to litigate. This explains why he functions by inciting fear through legal threats.
3. Third, there is a reason Weinstein has ceased from making legal threats to Christianfighterpilot.com. Weinstein made legal threats toward Christianfighterpilot.com to incite fear. When Christianfighterpilot.com did not yield and obey his demands, Weinstein gave up the threat and moved to another. This is why Weinstein relies on poor erudition; he cannot win unless the recipients of his threats yield to his demands.
II. Rejoice And Count It Worthy
Being in a voluntary state of self-denial or affliction may not sound plausible to everyone. However, it is impossible to mitigate persecution. Following Christ requires forsaking ourselves and rejoicing to count it worthy to suffer for His sake. This is why readers must know that if Weinstein attacks your faith, it is probably because you are doing something right that he wants to suppress. Do not renounce your faith but rejoice and ask yourself an important question: if I remain silent about my faith, what good is my faith? This is why you must accept the slander, harsh criticism, and even being ostracized for following Christ and not being ashamed.
Martin Luther is an example of intrepidity. He persevered during a pivotal time in church history. Corruption in the Catholic Church produced a multitude of egregious practices. Luther contended with the traditional Catholic practices (un-biblical) by writing his disputation (95 theses), which was the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordered to appear before the Diet of Worms and was repeatedly asked to recant his faith. Luther responded by saying: “My Conscience is a prisoner of God’s Word. I cannot and I will not recant, for to disobey one’s conscience is neither just nor safe. God help me, Amen.” If you are a commander or serve in a chain of command, you must not bow to Weinstein when he demands that you submit to his requests. Instead, tell him, “I cannot and I will not recant!”
The apostle Paul acknowledged that he would suffer in the world for his Master’s sake. In no way is this article espousing that Christians should be imprudent or cavalier in their faith, but to remain steadfast because if you are actively practicing your faith, persecution will inevitably come. In 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul articulates: “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.”
Christ is the supreme example by which believers are to measure their conduct. Adam and Eve transgressed the law that was given to them by God because a serpent casted doubt on God’s Word (as many serpents will still do today). All are born in sin because of Adam’s guilty sinful nature that was transferred to all of his posterity. The law demands that transgressing the law is deserving of death, which is why God sent His son into the world to be perfectly obedient to the law (Christ was sinless). God charged His Son with the guilt of our sin even though Christ was innocent. Christ voluntarily sacrificed Himself to the torments of the cross (which we all deserve), which required Him to be marred beyond human semblance, walloped by savage men, forsaken by all who knew Him and nailed to His death bed. Worst of all, God the Father pulverized His son by crushing Him with the full weight of His justice. After God poured His torrential wrath on His Son, Christ died and was placed in a tomb. God then raised His Son (proof that God’s wrath was exhausted on His son), for the justification of those whom the Father declares righteousness.
Is Christ not worthy enough for you to suffer? John Calvin once said that, “In suffering for the cause of God we are walking step by step after the Son of God & have Him for our guide.” Or is a pompous man who never wins his frivolous lawsuits and hides behind a computer to smear Conservative Bible-believing Christians, going to weaken your passion for Christ in imitating Him? Never forget that we are to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29), and are commanded to not fear those who can kill the body but not the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). Most importantly, please consider the cost of following Christ if you are ever attacked by an impetuous bully who demands that you recant your faith or face a menacing lawsuit:
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)
III. Contest And Persevere
Ronald Reagan was not ashamed of His love for the Bible and Christ; He embraced them and publicly made them known without any fear of reprisal. Sadly, times are rapidly changing. Boldness is desolate, leadership is now liberalism, duty is now debauchery, honor is replaced with homosexuality, integrity is now inclusivity, and Bible referencing is being substituted for blasphemous rhetoric. The present-day culture that accepts the pendulum swing will demand omission of Christ and God from their workplaces, they will become offended over the Bible, they will hate the truth, and will consider anyone who is a Gospel preacher to be a radical fundamentalist, extremists, contentious, and even bigoted. In the end, God will hold those who suppress the truth in utter contempt. This is why the world needs a loving boldness. Just as Calvin said, “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”
Christians in the military do not ever need to fear Weinstein. Bible-believing Christians have certain unalienable rights that are endowed by our creator, to exercise our faith and never have anyone establish their religion over ours. This includes our right to preach the Gospel, regardless of how obstinate this appears to liberal opinions. In my opinion, Weinstein will disagree if it is not commensurate with his criteria of faith and practice. Should Christians in the military remain silent about their faith if Weinstein attacks? Absolutely not! Here are a few reasons why:
Weinstein has personally attacked me. I responded to him with a request to debate. Sadly, but as expected, I have seen no response to my article. Weinstein has not accepted my request. Instead, he chooses to conceal himself behind his computer. Weinstein also makes a lot of threats with his mouth that he has yet been able to discharge. Here are a few excerpts from an article on the Blaze:
“If we have chaplains that believe that they must get on the pulpit and make it very clear to their fellow soldiers, sailors marines and airmen that anyone who is [lesbian, gay and soon to be transgender] is a pervert … well that is something that we simply cannot allow,” he said. “Because it eviscerates the compelling governmental interest of maximizing … unit cohesion, good order morale and disciple.”
Weinstein had a message for those who do not agree with gay marriage rights: “Hold your tongue, change your attitude or either voluntarily or involuntarily be mustered out.”
Weinstein offers nothing more than lip service and gimmicks when making his threats. In the excerpts from the Blaze, Weinstein not only lays the axiom that the MRFF will not allow preaching from the pulpit that condemns sexual immorality, he also threatens with involuntary removal. After the article from the Blaze, Christianfighterpilot.com published an article titled, “Mikey Weinstein fails to intimidate Air Force Chaplain.” In this article, my affirmations are clearly presented in a sermon video along with a transcribed excerpt from the video, which are clearly antithetical to Weinstein’s position. As of today’s date, I have never received a subpoena or any verbal/written threat from Weinstein. Why? Because Weinstein will not litigate something or contend with someone that stands up to him, especially if he knows he cannot win.
My position has never changed. Chaplains are free to preach according to the tenets of their faith despite Weinstein’s fallacious complaints. This is what I intend to do. I will preach on the absolute sovereignty of God, I will preach against sin, I will preach Christ and Him crucified, I will preach the Gospel call of salvation, I will preach on Justification by faith without works, and I will preach on the whole counsel of Scripture by telling people the truth:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
I have offered to debate Weinstein on several occasions. I have written an article with a request to debate, which was reiterated on Christianfighterpilot.com, and also through an interview with Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt. Sadly, but also as expected, Weinstein continues to conceal himself behind his computer to avoid the public embarrassment of his thwarted position on religious liberty.
A debate with Weinstein would be interesting. There must be an unbiased moderator who will ensure several things: (1) a clear theses or a question is defended from both parties; (2) maintain the integrity of the debate; (3) prevent talking over one another; (4) allow the debate to be accomplished collegially despite our polemics (5) and by providing a question and answer time for both debaters to respond. Will Weinstein ever respond to my request for a debate? Unfortunately, I am not convinced he will.
Do not fret, Christian. If you have been threatened or if you are ever the victim of Weinstein’s vitriolic attacks, do not respond with detestable words. Do not repay evil for evil. Respond with love. Pray for Weinstein. Forgive him when he strikes you on one cheek. Love him enough by telling him the truth that he must fall on his face and beg his Master for mercy (not his ego, but God almighty). If Weinstein does not repent and believe that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, then he must understand that he is storing up wrath for himself on the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed (Rom. 2:5). On that day, he will never again worry about money, his ego, or fighting for all of the things that God hates. The only thing he will worry about is the extremity of hell, where God’s inconceivable wrath will smother his life for an eternity unless he repents.
Do not denounce your faith because you are threatened. In my opinion, this is why he is rich. Weinstein will make legal threats, and when carnal, simple minded, or scared Christians surrender to his demands, he wins and avoids having to spend money in litigation. You must not waiver in your faith if you are going to persevere. Sadly, I have seen so much compromise even from chaplains who care more about their career than Christ, more about rank than righteousness, more about popularity than preaching, and more about gimmicks than Gospel. If a chaplain or anyone in the military compromises their faith, they must look at their leave and earning statement (LES) and divide their earnings by 30 to see how many times they have betrayed the Master for their thirty pieces of silver. Do not let this be you. Do not compromise, but contend!
Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez is a US Air Force Reserve Chaplain assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In April 2015, he was selected as the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Individual Mobilization Augmentee Company Grade Officer of the Year. Hernandez earned a Doctorate from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization. Sonny Hernandez wrote this article as a civilian on his own time on an issue of public interest.