ATTN Air Force Public Affairs: There is hope in Christ, as told by one of your own
by Sonny Hernandez
Over the course of the past year, I have been writing articles about the perception the military censors articles that reference Christian sentiments. This can be concurred since a simple internet search will unveil a fact that homosexual testimonials and diversity day celebratory events that promote sexual immorality (LGBT) are allowed to be published on official military publications, while references of Christian testimonials that articulate Christ as Lord appear to be obscured.
Over the past few years, a few articles with Christian references were published on Air Force publications but were later redacted as a result of anti-God complaints. I have personally been told by military officials that a reference to Jesus Christ will stir up issues, and I was even told to keep Christ out of any articles that I write! My response? I will never deny Christ!
When Air Force Public Affairs omits Christ out of fear that someone will complain or make threats, they have abandoned their responsibility to ensure neutrality; they are making it known that Christ is not permitted on Air Force publications, and they are neglecting Christians from being able to share their testimonies of what helped them during difficult times. Ultimately, this is an issue of leadership, which requires someone to take a bold stand to show the world that diversity and free exercise matters not just for homosexuals, but also for Christians.
When will an Air Force Public Affairs official show leadership and allow Christian sentiments to be published on official Air Force publications?
I was recently alerted to an article apparently written in April but just recently posted that deserves notable attention, and it was not from a senior enlisted or Public Affairs officer — it was from a Senior Airman.
On April 4, 2016, Senior Airman Nathan Dampf of Whiteman Air Force Base wrote an article titled, “Spiritual faithfulness breaks Air Guardsman’s loneliness.”
Immediately this article caught my attention. The article describes how MSgt Ronda Hedges endured a tumultuous time in her life. Hedges had to endure a disorderly relationship with her husband which subsequently led to communication problems, abuse, divorce, and loneliness.
Who was there to help MSgt Rhonda Hedges during this difficult time in her life? As told by SrA Dampf:
“After receiving divorce papers from an abusive husband and feeling alone away from family, having just started a new college career. That was the greatest sense of loneliness that I have ever felt,” said Hedges. Where did she turn? To a relationship with Jesus Christ, said Hedges.
How wonderful it is to read an official Air Force publication that allowed an Airman to describe how she turned to Christ for consolation. In addition, the aforementioned excerpt was not a quick reference to Christ that was allowed to be in the article. This was just the beginning. In the article, Hedges also describes additional information of how Christ was able to help her:
- “She wanted answers and turned her focus toward God.”
- “It is about the relationship, the one-on-one relationship – that is what Jesus gave His life for.”
- “Hedges attended Sunday school classes, worship and Bible studies. Listening to scripture, she says she made strides.”
- “I found, through God, forgiveness and healing from the pain. I felt his complete presence.”
- “Single for 13 years, Hedges trusted God and found another blessing, she said…”
To Senior Airman Nathan Dampf, thank you for publishing an article that articulated how Christ changed the life of an Airman. You are an anomaly among your peers, because so many of them are omitting Christ out of fear that someone will complain or make threats.
Over the past few years, I have not seen another Air Force publication that allowed Christ to be glorified as yours did. The only critique I would offer is the title, “Spiritual faithfulness breaks Air Guardsman’s loneliness” does not fit the article well. It should have been titled, “Jesus Christ breaks Air Guardsman’s loneliness.” Nevertheless, I salute you for writing an article that so many of your peers are likely too scared to publish.
To Air Force Public Affairs, please take note of SrA Nathan Dampf’s article. Instead of omitting Christ out of fear that someone will complain or make threats, follow the Air Force guidance that deals with responding to anti-God advocacy groups that some of you are apparently scared of.
Why is this important? Just ask MSgt Ronda Hedges. She will tell you what changed her life forever: It was Jesus Christ.
Imagine how many other Airmen that are struggling as Hedges had been that could benefit from this message.
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.