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WWII vet's Bible at center of fight at VA - WND
A prominent religious-rights legal team is defending the Veterans Administration's placement of a Bible on a "Missing Man Table" at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
First Liberty Institute is representing members of the Northeast POW/MIA Network in a lawsuit filed by anti-religion interests over the display.
"Our clients, who are all patriots from the New England area, sacrificed too much for this country to let some activists from thousands of miles away bully them," said Michael Berry, director of Military Affairs and chief of staff for First Liberty Institute. "The Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of religious displays with historic roots such as those commonly found in VA facilities. First Liberty will fight alongside the VA to make sure the Bible stays."
The display is owned by the network.
But it was a local veteran, supported by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who sued over the table.
"The lawsuit claimed that by allowing a private display to include a Bible at the medical center, the VA had violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on the 'establishment of religion.' Attorneys with the VA and First Liberty argue that because the display is owned and maintained by a private organization, it is private speech, and therefore protected by the First Amendment," the institute said.
Also, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently confirmed it had updated its policies "permitting religious literature, symbols and displays at VA facilities to protect religious liberty for Veterans and families while ensuring inclusivity and nondiscrimination."
The Bible at the table was donated by former U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant Herman "Herk" Streitburger of Bedford, N.H., who was held captive in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.
The tables at VA centers are prepared to honor those who are not returning.
The Bible donated by Streitburger, however, is claimed to be an offense to U.S. Air Force veteran James Chamberlain when he walks past it in the hospital.
Judge Paul Barbadoro decided not to dismiss the case for several reasons, including a question of whether Chamberlain could claim "injury" over the Bible's presence.
When Chamberlain first complained, the center removed the Bible from the memorial, only to return it later.
Vice President Mike Pence has even contributed to the argument.
"You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire. Let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones."
"The Bible on the Missing Man Table represents something that the actual POWs clung to to survive," said Quinn Morey of the Northeast POW/MIA Network in a Fox News report.
The fight over Bibles in various "missing man" memorials has been going on for years. In 2016, those supporting the Bible on the tables declared victory when the Veterans Administration announced it would be "neutral" in such disputes and not "hostile."
At that time, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin said, "A Bible resting passively along with other tradition[al] elements of this display does not promote any single religion. ... Please recall that our country was founded, in part, upon the realization that all people are endowed with God-given rights that include free expression and freedom of religion."
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
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