To Major Steve Lewis & Peterson Air Force Base: Ignore Mikey, and He will Flee. Guaranteed.

by Sonny Hernandez

It is always demoralizing to hear perplexing tales of snowflake liberals in the Armed Forces who become incensed over the mere presence of a Bible. As a result of just such an offense, an Air Force officer is now under investigation after years of keeping an open, highlighted Bible on his desk, leading to another of Mikey Weinstein’s inconsequential tirades.

There is an underlying issue of why Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is disdainful towards an open, highlighted Bible on Major Steve Lewis’s desk. Weinstein abhors the Bible, which Christians adore! As I have stated on multiple occasions, Mikey Weinstein does not contend with anyone who distributes material that references Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns or fairies. Why? It is because none of them exist! Weinstein always contends with references to God because he knows God exists, which is why his anti-God suppression is invariable.

There is a reason Mr. Weinstein rejects the Bible. Weinstein does not reject the truth of the Bible because it contradicts itself; instead, he rejects the Bible because it contradicts him, which is why he always tries to suppress the truth because he loves his sin. Despite Weinstein’s frivolous attempts to remove a Bible, God’s Word is eternal and stands firm in heaven. Also, God’s Word alone is perfect and pure (Ps. 19:7-8), proven true (Prov. 30:5-6), stands forever (Is. 40:7-8), never returns void (Is. 55:11), never passes away (Matt. 24:34-35), and is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:26). Believers cannot live without it (Matt. 4:4), and God never lies (Tit. 1:2). Weinstein should be defending Major Steve Lewis’s biblical ardor that many Christians adhere to, instead of stifling the Constitution he claims to defend.

Weinstein’s contempt with Scripture is not inspiring, it is ignorant. I want to personally thank Major Steve Lewis for displaying his Bible replete with yellow highlighted verses, as I do all of the time. Major Lewis has a constitutional right to embrace his sincerely held theological convictions without anyone abridging his free exercise of religion. His devotion to Scripture is evidence of being a Christian (Ps. 1), which is why it is important for the military to ensure that anti-God, anti-Christian hate groups do not subdue his rights that many Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen have died defending. Supporters of religious liberty should be defending the Constitution, not denigrating Christians, which is why Weinstein should be ignored.

Mr. Weinstein has a good enough reason to reject the Bible: The Bible rejects his idolatry of being a lover of himself (golden-calf), and his appetite for money (greed), which is the indemnity towards his fundraising efforts which are reliant upon his inane attempts of bullying the military to yield and obey his demands. Here is a suggestion for the Peterson Air Force Base leadership to ponder: Ignore Mikey Weinstein and he will flee, guaranteed, or else the constitutional rights of military Christians may be the ones adversely affected.

Weinstein has personally maligned my theological convictions as well. Nevertheless, this has never caused my faith to abate or be suppressed, and it should not for you either. As a Christian chaplain that is endorsed by a DOD-approved ecclesiastical endorsing agency, I am committed to boldly propagating Christ and His Gospel. I am always evangelizing non-Christians, witnessing to atheists, dialoging about Scripture, devoting myself to Scripture, and distributing Scripture all of the time. Every month, I ensure that Bibles are interminably distributed at my assigned base (Wright Patterson Air Force Base), which has received a lot of news coverage. How come Weinstein did not revile my evangelistic endeavor? It is because I do not capitulate to the demands of an anti-God coward who makes a wealthy living out of castigating Bible-believing Christians because of their faith convictions that he frivolously condemns.

Instead, I do exactly what the Marines do: tell Weinstein to pound sand, which is something you should do as well.

Mr. Weinstein’s legal affronts can easily stir emotions and cause foreboding, but this need not be. The Air Force has already published guidance on how to deal with Weinstein and those like him. As discussed here, when contacted by Weinstein, don’t act hastily, continue to protect the free exercise of religion for all your Airmen, and resist him – because once Weinstein is ignored, he will flee.

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, and in May 2016, he was selected as 445th Airlift Wing CGO of the Quarter, first quarter. 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.



  • Chaplain Hernandez, I am curious.

    1. Who is your endorsing body?
    2. Are the non-Christians whom you are evangelizing seeking your counsel and conversion, or are you seeking them? Same question about the atheists to whom your are witnessing?
    3. If you are actively seeking them, please help me understand your understanding of Air Force Instructions 1-1, Sections 2.11 and 2.12.

    Dave Plummer, Endorser

    The Coalition of Spirit-filled Churches

    • @David Plummer
      That you would ask these questions as an endorser is disturbing. AFI 1-1 2.11 governs free exercise, both of the chaplain and of Airmen; in other words, it protects a chaplain acting in accordance with his faith tenets. And you can’t seriously believe, as you seem to be ominously implying, that AFI 1-1 2.12 restricts chaplains:

      [Leaders] must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.

      By their very nature, the military expects chaplains to endorse religion, as well as potentially disapprove of other religions and the absence of religion. That’s why the military hires chaplains of specific faiths. If it wanted neutered non-sectarian “chaplains,” it would ask for neutered chaplains.

      You’ve also said

      The military employs chaplains to perform or provide for the Free Exercise of Religion of the servicemembers — not of the chaplain, nor the chaplain’s faith group.

      The first half of that sentence is true. The second half is patently false. See, for example, AFPD 52-1 para 3.6.2:

      Chaplains must adhere to the requirements of their endorsing religious organizations.

      In other words, if the chaplain fails to act for his faith and that of his faith group — of if he acts against his faith or faith group, he’s violating Air Force regulations.

      You can find some of the Air Force guidance on chaplains here, in case don’t have it.

      But since you’re an endorser, you already knew all that, right?

  • Greetings Mr. Plummer, I figured I would hear from you, since: You write for the Forum on Military Chaplains (Gay Advocacy group); your fellow chaplain (Quentin Collins, board member for anti God, Christian hate group Military Religious Freedom Foundation), wrote a hit piece against me to the Chief of Chaplains, and you seem to be criticizing the Chief of Chaplains on social media for wearing a uniform.

    I am endorsed by the Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) Chaplaincy, that has a clear statement of faith about what we believe, not obscured and vague clichés . Our affirmation is centered on the whole counsel of Scripture, because Scripture is our authority.

    AGC Chaplains are missionaries in uniform, and are source of truth is the whole counsel of Scripture. Therefore, evangelism is a necessity, which is done in season, out of season, and to the ends of the earth.

    I have heard and know the AFI’s that you mention. Have you heard of Matthew 28:18-20? Please help me understand your understanding of the indispensable command of Christ (Matt 28:18-20) since your agency self-professes to believe Christ is Lord, yet you criticize those who pray in uniform at a chaplain event (Chief of Chaplains).

    The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization.

    • Thanks, folks. And just to clear the air and remove all doubt, I am sure that you love Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. As do I. As do so many folks in uniform, including fellow chaplains and numerous service members and their families. The difficulties lie, as I see it, in that you, [redacted] and Chaplain Hernandez, and your followers feel that you all have a right –even a divine mandate – to evangelize and proselytise at any and all opportunities to the specific flavor of Christianity that you believe in. And while that may be a key tenet in your faith group, if left un-addressed in the military (and civilian workplace), inevitably produces a hostile environment. It is hard for the E-4 to tell her O-3, that “ no ,“ she is not wanting to attend chapel that Sunday. Or “no” to the prayer breakfast or National Day of Prayer observance. Or imagine an O-4 addressing an E-5, “I was just reading this exciting passage of the Gospel and I think I will highlight it and leave it on my desk as it just might touch your situation or the situation of someone in your squad. Go ahead and share it!” Maybe this is not what the Christian evangelizer intended, but it sure comes off as undue influence or even coercion. Similarly, [redacted] and Chaplain Hernandez, when you write you write with such anger and spiritual one-up-manship you are off-putting. I wonder if that is how you are in-person in your units.

      The chaplaincy is not the local church and visa versa. All chaplains are ministers, but not all ministers are or can be chaplains. Many pastors just are not wired to minister to folks beyond the walls of their congregation. And perhaps that is not their calling. Chaplains are given a measure of special trust to be approachable and to care for all people – even people very much unlike them. Jesus loved and loves all people. It concerns me that you both go out of your way to seek to denigrate LGBT folks and non-believers and any others who do not fill the bill as to what you believe a person should do or be — or not. I really wonder, Chaplain Hernandez, how helpful to you are to the service-members you are charged with serving. My guess is that if they know your thoughts and feelings about them or people similar to them, they likely try to avoid you.

      And that leads me to my last point. The military chaplaincy is a special calling (to spiritually care for all military personnel and their families — even if you as a chaplain do not believe in them and their lifestyles) and I happen to believe it is a fragile institution, albeit a very old one. The military does not hire you to be a missionary to the military to convert others to your beliefs or way of thinking. In fact, I would think that even a not-so-clever lawyer could argue that if the military and a chaplain are functioning with that sort of understanding about their purpose, that the government is attempting to “establish” religion among the service-members. This is a big offense to the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. And while you likely will argue, again, that you are called to the “Great Commission,” I would respond that when you accepted your military “commission,” you agreed to support and defend The Constitution and the various supporting DoD documents and policies and regulations to implement proper order in the Department of Defense. You have volunteered to have some of your “rights” as a citizen abridged for military necessity. If you cannot in good conscience abide by these rules that you have agreed to, at least have the honesty and integrity to resign the military commission in favor of specializing on the Great Commission as a civilian. Over the years, I have known a number of chaplains who have done just that.

      And while an endorsing agency may feel, think, believe, opine, argue and perhaps even insist that their chaplains be sent out to do their bidding as a faith group, that does not make it right. If we see this sort of activity on a regular basis, I fear it is just a matter of time before the DoD or the courts will decide that chaplaincy is far more trouble than it is worth and will jettison the chaplaincy, issuing instead smartphones or tablets and giving personnel an hour a week to click over to the religious website of their choice for the exercise of their religion or philosophy of their choice. And that would be a shame.

      I write, speaking only for myself. [And, incidentally, I do so without compensation for the good of the profession of chaplaincy in all sorts of venues: blogs, books, newspapers, e-journals, and The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling — and have done so for a quarter of a century. I plan continue to do so in any venue that will have me. Seems to me that Jesus did something similar when he spoke and taught in many diverse venues. Please give these words some thought and prayer.]

      Dave Plummer

    • @David Plummer

      The difficulties lie, as I see it, in that you…feel that you all have a right…to evangelize and proselytise at any and all opportunities to the specific flavor of Christianity that you believe in.

      The problem with what you’ve written is that you’re mixing good, bad, and assumption. Your view that anyone in the military wants to “evangelize and proselytize at any and all opportunities” is your own. No one here has ever said any such thing, nor even implied it. In fact, while Mikey Weinstein has made such accusations a pillar of his “charity,” he’s never in 10 years been able to produce an example of someone actually doing that.

      Your view, “as you see it,” is an inaccurate caricature.

      On the other hand, some will certainly disagree with my statement thusly: They “evangelize and proselytize at every opportunity” — but how they do so varies by the circumstances. For example, in many cases a simple act of loving kindness may be the act of “evangelism.” Their argument would be you’ve turned all of evangelism into a bogeyman.

      More disturbing is your throwaway reference to “specific flavor of Christianity.” Your Spirit Filled Coalition has an extremely wide tent. Why would you begrudge anyone their “specific flavor”? Or does your tent not have room for certain flavors?

      you both go out of your way to seek to denigrate LGBT folks and non-believers

      That is, again, a caricature. No one here “denigrates” anyone, at least not intentionally. (That said, I’ll allow that “snowflake liberal” may not have been necessary.) There are criticisms, naturally, but in general the criticisms are leveled at positions and arguments, not people. [Some might take exception, noting that Mikey Weinstein has been called a bigot here more than once. But his positions and arguments are bigoted, thus, the criticism is “fair” (contrary to the definition of “denigrate”).] Those that try to reconcile Christianity and homosexuality are naturally raising the subject for theological debate and criticism. Those that assert their positions of sexuality or secularism in opposition to military religious freedom are, naturally, raising a legitimate subject for debate. Disagreeing with those people, and arguing against their positions, does not inherently denigrate those people.

      By contrast, you associate yourself with an organization that has personally denigrated individual Christians not for their positions or conduct, but merely for the content of their beliefs. How is that a “fair” criticism, particularly from those who claim to be advocating religious liberty and the Constitution?

      while an endorsing agency may…insist that their chaplains be sent out to do their bidding as a faith group, that does not make it right.

      You’re contradicting your own words. Your own policy requires chaplains to adhere to the guidance of their sending church. And, again, such conduct is consistent with military regulations.

      It seems you didn’t read the responses to your initial comment (in the least, you didn’t respond to them). You might give them some thought and prayer as well.

  • Chaplain Hernandez,
    Thank you for your wise insight, your faithful service, and you commitment to standing up for the religious rights of all airmen to include chaplains. I am grateful to serve alongside you.

    Chaplain Ayers

  • Dear Mr. Plummer,

    When the Lord gave the Great Commission it was not a suggestion but a command that we are to evangelize the lost so that they may gain eternal life. In the Greek the command is saying “in your goings make disciples.” Wherever we may find ourselves we are to share the life giving message of salvation to all those who would hear and obey. Jesus did not put any constraints on the Great Commission, that we are only to do it here or there at specific times and places and only in certain occupations and not in others. The teacher if asked can share the gospel with a student, anyone can share the gospel to a complete stranger in the grocery store even at the check out counter. Yes even every Christian can share the power of deliverance to a gay person so that they may be set free from their bondage to sin and live free in Christ.

    Did you know that it is not against the constitution for a public school teacher to have a bible on their desk and probably opened as well? Let me ask you this Mr. Plummer, do you think Mikey Weinstein would make such a big stink about an open bible by a military personnel on their desk if it is was the President of the United States who had an open highlighted bible on his desk in the oval office and a staff member came in and saw it there? I think not! I really think the commander of at Peterson AFB will tell Mikey to go pound sand, because Air Force regulations say that anyone can have religious things on their desk. Mr. Weinstein is one little hateful coward of a man who needs Yeshua desperately to become his Messiah and to that end we pray, that like Paul, he will have his own Damascus Road experience with the living Messiah!

  • Mr. Plummer,

    One day, when I stand before my Lord, I want for Him to say, “Well done good and faithful servant,” for being obedient (John 15:16), and making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). This is why I chose my endorsing agency, because of their doctrinal integrity that the DOD has approved to be an endorser for military chaplains. Therefore, your philosophy of ministry about military chaplain conduct is irrelevant to me, because I would never be endorsed by your agency, respectfully.

    What about you Sir? Since you mention integrity, your website claims to believe Jesus is Lord, yet you write for a gay advocacy group (FOMC), and you openly criticize the AF Chief of Chaplains for praying at a chaplain event. Please share with me your biblical support of devout Christians conducting themselves this way, which is why you may want to read 1 John 2:4. If you cannot in good conscience obey and serve Christ, then maybe you should consider psychotherapy, social work, motivational speaking, and not endorsing chaplains that wear a cross insignia. I have known a few that have done this as well.

    One thing that you failed to mention, is that there are innumerable men and woman that serve in the Armed Forces that believe the same way I do. Do their constitutional rights matter? Who is going to serve them? I can guarantee you that I know several men and women that would never seek counseling from liberal chaplains because they view them as apostate. This is why Bible-believing conservative chaplains matter, because the constitutional rights of Bible-believing Christians (to exercise their faith) must be defended.

    Also, you give off the impression that you want tolerance, yet you seem to be intolerant towards Bible-believing evangelicals. Sounds very similar to the Forum on Military Chaplains (gay advocates), and Mikey Weinstein’s foundation (MRFF, Christian hate group), which seems to make sense now, especially since you write for them (FOMC), and one of your chaplains claims to defend the rights of service men and women to practice their faith, while accosting mine.

    The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization.

  • “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    The real question in all this discussion is, does Civilian Pastor Sonny Hernandez have a right to believe what he does, practice those beliefs, and then publicly write about them? – I believe the answer is found in the words above. –

    Every article he has written, he wrote as a US Citizen, utilizing his own technological resources, and did so completely on his own time as a civilian Pastor concerned about his country and its military members. The foundational question is, does a USAF RESERVE Officer have a right to express his sincerely held Biblical beliefs when he is not on duty, utilizing his own technology? – The answer is found in the words above. –

    One may not like what Pastor Hernandez believes, or how he expresses those beliefs. One may not express one’s own personal beliefs exactly life Pastor Hernandez expresses his, but “the words above” and DoD policy make it clear that he can do so. I believe he does so out of a sincere passion for truth in the midst of an increasingly corrupt onslaught!

    Real “Pluralism” is respecting “the right” of others to believe what they believe, NOT necessarily respecting “the content of those beliefs.” Christians always love truth and do not ever respect “falsehood.”
    Real pluralism in a governmental setting ought always to be “a two-way street.” – Again, see the words above –

    • @SDB
      Well said. People in our society today — even those associated with our military — so often forget that freedom in America does not include freedom “from” ideas that are different from — or offensive to — our own. Nor does the presence and expression of those ideas require the government to intervene to protect us.

      The words tolerance and pluralism have been so often misused and conflated that they have arguably lost much of their distinct meaning. At one point, tolerance simply meant respecting another’s right to believe — without agreeing with what they believed. That is, a tolerant society acknowledged the right of people to be wrong.

      Pluralism, on the other hand, came to mean the acceptance of the validity of multiple truth claims. (At its core, pluralism is simply the presence of multiples, but it has come to mean more.) A pluralistic society, then, would say that no one can be wrong. When pluralism is “enforced,” such a society would ultimately move to “protect” its members from criticism. Not only can they not be wrong, but they can’t be told they’re wrong.

      American society, with its focus on individual responsibility and character, was built on that original concept of tolerance. We rightly expect our American institutions to tolerate the wide range of people in our society.

      Today, many will claim it is “intolerant” to say, for example, that Islam or homosexuality are “wrong.” In fact, it is perfectly tolerant to do so — though it isn’t pluralistic. This error becomes a societal problem when people want the American government to enforce their view of “tolerance” — when they’re actually demanding the government enforce pluralism. They want to be protected from beliefs they don’t like.

      People don’t seem to realize how contrary that is to the American spirit.

  • “[I]f [evangelism and proselytizing is ] left un-addressed in the military (and civilian workplace), inevitably produces a hostile environment. It is hard for the E-4 to tell her O-3, that ‘no,’ she is not wanting to attend chapel that Sunday. Or ‘no’ to the prayer breakfast or National Day of Prayer observance.”

    Likewise, it is difficult for the E-4 to tell the O-3, “no, I will not shoot that civilian,” or “no, I will not forge that supply document.” Yet that is what military service demands. We do great disservice to our service members when we treat them as if they cannot think for themselves, as if the mere sight or sound of the Torah or the call to prayer are enough to unravel all of their military training.

    Why not instead teach them to engage in thoughtful discourse? Why not raise the bar? If a chaplain believes the most effective way to reach a 19-year old with an M4 is via hellfire and brimstone, then perhaps the chaplain has more to learn from the 19-year old than the other way around.

    Our service members are more perceptive than we give credit. Ask them, and they will tell you that they do not interpret an open invitation as a direct order. Ask them, and they will tell you that “All Faiths Chapel” does not carry the imprimatur of Christianity/Judaism/Islam/Buddhism/etc.

  • Dear Freedom Fighter,

    I cannot speak about the military side, but I do know that as a civilian employee, I have every constitutional right to share my faith at work and even have my bible open at my work station. If people are offended, oh well, that is their problem, but the First Amendment grants me the freedom of religion and the free exercise of it. Even a public school teacher can have an open bible on their desk and that does not violate the constitution at all!

    The issue here is that Mikey Weinstein has been trying to wipe Christianity all together out of the military and has tried to get military chaplains court martialed. I wonder if it would have made a difference if this open bible was on the desk of one of the chaplains on base there, would the 33 alleged airmen still complain? Or, what if there was an open Bible on Major Lewis’ desk and an open Book of Mormon on the desk of the officer next to him and an open Koran on another officers desk all in the same office, I can almost guarantee that Mikey would still throw a hissy fit and get his panties in a twist over the Christian having his bible open.

    What is even more disconcerting is that supposedly 31 of these alleged airmen are “Christians” and they were “offended” by the sight of an open bible on Major Lewis’ desk. If a Christian is offended by seeing the bible on a desk, then I would say that they are truly not born again Christians. No Christian should be offended by seeing a Bible on anyone’s desk. The problem with Mikey is that he wants to push Christians into the closet while applauding militant homosexuals and transgenders who are coming out of the closet. You tell me, what is worse for military morale, having a soldier who lives for Christ or one who flaunts his immoral lifestyle before everyone?