The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is demanding an Air Force major be “aggressively punished” for having an open Bible on his desk at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“It [the Bible] is very obviously a statement of Christian preference, Christian primacy,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein told me. “Had that been the Book of Satan or the Koran there would be blood in the freaking streets.”
He accused Maj. Steve Lewis, a supervisor at the Reserve National Security Space Institute, of “harboring and encouraging a truly abhorrent example of First Amendment civil rights violations.”
Mr. Weinstein is a fussy little fellow, isn’t he?
Col. Damon Feltman, the commander of the 310th Space Wing, told me they are reviewing the incident involving the Good Book.
“He has removed the Bible voluntarily because he didn’t want this to cause attention or disruption to his unit,” Col. Feltman said. “I’ve performed a walk-through of the office and everything seemed to be in compliance with Air Force regulation.”
So when will Maj. Lewis be able to return the Bible to his desk?
“I’m waiting on the unit commander’s review of the situation before making a final assessment,” the colonel said.
He stressed that Air Force personnel are free to exercise their constitutional rights to practice their own religion “as long as it is respectful of other individual’s rights to follow their own belief system in ways that support good order and discipline and don’t detract from (the) military mission.”
“As long as he’s not doing something excessive, the existence of a Bible or the Koran or the Torah or some other religious article is not prohibited,” Col. Feltman said. “It’s what you do with it when you have it.”
Weinstein, who earns a paycheck by trying to eradicate Christianity from the Armed Forces, accused Maj. Lewis of committing a “repulsive violation of USAF regulations” as well as the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s not his desk,” he told me. “That desk belongs to the American people, to the U.S. military. If that desk was in his home or his car it would not be a problem.”
Weinstein fired off a nasty, adjective-laden letter to the base commander after receiving complaints from 33 unnamed Air Force personnel.
“We have 33 very scared Air Force families,” Weinstein told me.
Just a brief aside: If those Air Force personnel are terrified of a Bible – how in the world will they be able to muster the courage to fight the enemy?
Apparently one of Weinstein’s gentle snowflakes managed to conquer his fear long enough to sneak up on the open Bible and take several photographs – which were then submitted as evidence.
“Major Lewis has created an around-the-clock Christian Bible Shrine on his official USAF workstation desk that has been in prominent static display for years,” Weinstein said. “The pages in his open Bible on his USAF desk never change, ever.”
One of the airmen who reached out to Weinstein complained that the officer’s Bible is a “blatant case of Christian defiance and Christian discrimination.”
“I am intimidated by the display, and I am a practicing Christian,” the unnamed airman wrote. “This open Bible is discrimination at the highest level.”
The airman went on to say that he wasn’t just offended by the Bible – he was “outrageously offended.”
Travis Weber, the director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, said every service member has a right to the free exercise of religion.
“It should be beyond clear that they are protected by the Constitution, statutory authority and regulations,” Weber told me.
He pointed to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces that reaffirmed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “applies in the military context.”
“Men and women signing up to defend our country do not give up this right – especially when, of all things, they are fighting to defend the very Constitution which contains this protection,” Weber said.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin said the problem is that militant secularists see the Bible as a threat.
“Indeed it is a powerful weapon, but it is not a threat to America,” he said. “The military should be focused on the real threats to this nation.”
Perhaps the Air Force should offer complimentary counseling for those personnel suffering from PTBS (Post Traumatic Bible Syndrome)?
For the record, there is no evidence that any of Weinstein’s clients spontaneously combusted or converted after glancing at the Holy Bible.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.