Officer Cleared in Military Bible Complaint
By Todd Starnes
An Air Force major, who was accused of civil rights violations for having a Bible on his work desk, has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to military officials at the 310th Space Wing in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Maj. Steve Lewis, a supervisor at the Reserve National Security Space Institute, agreed to voluntarily remove the Bible pending a military review.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation had filed a complaint against Maj. Lewis -- accusing him of "harboring and encouraging a truly abhorrent example of First Amendment civil rights violations."
But a public affairs spokesman told me late Tuesday that Maj. Lewis was well within his rights to have an open Bible on his office desk.
"We have concluded that no abuse of liberties has occurred," Lt. Col. David Fruck told me.
He said both the workplace environment and the major's behavior were well within the provisions governing the free exercise of religion and religious accommodation.
Lt. Col. Fruck said the major is free to place the Bible back on his desk - should he desire to do so.
I'm sure that's going to be disappointing news for MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein. He wanted the major "aggressively punished" for displaying what he called a "Christian Bible Shrine" on the desk.
“It [the Bible] is very obviously a statement of Christian preference, Christian primacy,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein told me last week. “Had that been the Book of Satan or the Koran there would be blood in the freaking streets.”
Weinstein claimed to be representing some 33 Air Force personnel who were frightened by the sight of the open Bible on the major's desk.
“We have 33 very scared Air Force families,” Weinstein told me.
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.”
First, I want to commend Col. Damon Feltman, the commander of the 310th Space Wing. Unlike many military personnel, he refused to be bullied by Mr. Weinstein. He investigated the complaint, found that it was without merit and allowed the major to carry on.
Second, I want to commend Maj. Lewis for setting a Christ-like example. He did not create a fuss. He did as he was instructed to do and allowed the system to work.
Third, I want to challenge Mr. Weinstein to stop pestering the military with his petty complaints. And stop bullying Christian military personnel, too. We've grown tired of his anti-Christian vendetta.
Finally, a word of advice to the 33 "aggrieved" military personnel. If the presence of God's Word causes you to tremble in fear -- perhaps you should consider another line of work.