Tommy Vallejos, a local Tennessee politician, Bronze Star veteran, and care pastor with Faith Outreach Church in Clarksville, TN, wrote an opinion column in the Stars and Stripes in support of Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez entitled “Don’t persecute chaplain for practicing his faith“:
As a retired military veteran, a Hispanic, and a man of deep faith, I was shaken to my core after reading a recent story about Chaplain (Capt.) Sonny Hernandez coming under fire for sharing commonly held biblical principles with his fellow Air Force servicemembers…
Vallejos appears to note the often-missed observation that Read more
Last week US Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez published a column at Barbwire.com entitled “Christian Service Members: Avoid Supporting or Accommodating Evil!” The article has been widely criticized — from the much-expected Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, to Chelsea Clinton, to multiple other sites — by those who have taken issue with Hernandez’s views on Christianity and military religious freedom.
Some of the criticisms are laced with the vitriol of those who despise Christianity in any form but milquetoast — so it wouldn’t matter what Hernandez said. Some of the criticisms are more academic. But almost all call for Hernandez’s head — or at least a pro forma “investigation” followed by a foregone dismissal. While Hernandez may have said — and did say — things that seemed illogical, theologically questionable, or wrong, nothing he said was illegal or otherwise a violation of any rule, regulation, or law. Those who are attacking his ability to serve in the US military — that so-called bastion of tolerance and diversity — have no leg upon which Read more
As reported at the Stars and Stripes, the Air Force has defended Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez’s recent publication of his views on Christianity and military religious freedom [emphasis added]:
Air Force Reserve spokesman Lt. Col. Chad Gibson said Hernandez is expressing his own views, not those of the Air Force, and his freedom to express his own faith is an essential protection in the military. The Air Force is not conducting an investigation, he said.
“I think we should reflect on why the Air Force is here,” Gibson said. “We are sworn to protect freedom of faith and religion unless it infringes on other people’s rights.”
That’s an admirably bold and direct statement from Read more
Chaplain Hernandez’s previously discussed column on military Christians and religious freedom continues to receive critiques — more accurately, criticism — from a wide variety of sources.
One of the more interesting responses came from Don Byrd of the Baptist Joint Committee, a left leaning advocacy group that tends to take a more atheistic view of religious liberty than most Baptists.
In a blog entitled “Air Force Chaplain is Wrong to Oppose Religious Liberty Rights for All,” Byrd began with a principled observation ignored by most [emphasis added]:
Capt. Hernandez is of course free to believe according to his conscience and faith…The controversial issue of salvation for non-Christians is a question of Christian theology, not public policy…
Personal theological beliefs do not disqualify an individual from public service.
Byrd then added a significant “however” [emphasis added]: Read more
The US military has just updated its regulations with the intent of improving the protection of military religious freedom.
Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17 was previously known as “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” but is now re-titled simply “Religious Liberty in the Military Services” (PDF). The new DoDI title sets the tone for a policy that presupposes religious liberty, rather than treats it as an outlier that may sometimes be “accommodated.”
That change in tone mimics the tone change in religious liberty policies in the Air Force – which may not be a coincidence. The new DoDI was approved by Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan – a former Air Force fighter pilot who has been both an Undersecretary of the Air Force and even the Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the past few years, during which the tenor (if not always the actions) of Air Force policy leaned toward religious freedom.
It seems President Trump’s selection of Undersecretary Donovan may have set the stage for improving religious liberty in the US military.
As to the DoDI itself, it notably Read more
By Sonny Hernandez
Recently WND reported that a gunman opened fire in a congregation, resulting in two parishioners being killed. By the meticulous providence of God, armed professionals were in the assembly and the gunman was shot dead, ensuring that no one else would be harmed by the perpetrator. This tragic event should open the eyes of Americans on carrying guns, and death.
Americans should remain resilient about their right to bear arms, even in their places of worship. Liberals will disagree. That is—liberals who want to hypocritically take away the rights of Read more
By Sonny Hernandez
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female (Mark 10:6)
President Donald Trump has officially implemented a new policy on transgenderism in the military that Americans should take the time to read. According to BuzzFeed News:
President Donald Trump finally got to implement a ban on transgender people in the military on Friday — nearly two years after he shot off tweets declaring the military “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity.”
Lt. Col. Carla M. Gleason, a Pentagon Read more
by Sonny Hernandez
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
Service members that are contemplating suicide need help. Last year, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs released some alarming insights from their National Suicide Data Report for all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
- Suicide rates increased for both Veterans and non-Veterans, underscoring the fact that suicide is a national public health concern that affects people everywhere.
- The average number of Veterans who died by suicide each day remained unchanged at 20.
- The suicide rate increased faster among Veterans who had not recently used Veterans Health Administration health care than among those who had.
There are Read more