The Department of Veterans Affairs may be embroiled in a healthcare scandal — the severity of which led to the resignation of VA head Eric Shinseki — but pockets of the VA health system seem to be focused not on improving healthcare for veterans, but on stripping religion out of hospital chapels.
Fox News’ Todd Starnes wrote on Friday of the VA hospital in Iron Mountain, Michigan, where an altar, cross and statues of Jesus and Mary are being scrupulously hidden behind a curtain — inside a Christian chapel.
Hiding religious symbols within the religious space is meant to bring the chapel in conformance with government regulations, Starnes said, but some view the move as part of a broad attack on Christianity in the public sphere.
“Christianity, not only globally, but particularly in the United States, is really under attack,” Lutheran pastor Richard Riley told Starnes. “Christianity is coming under some horrendous conflict from the media and to some degree from our own government.”
The Iron Mountain situation is not unique — VA facilities nationwide have undergone similar “religiously neutral makeover(s),” Starnes said — though in the case of the Iron Mountain hospital, the covering of Christ seems to only possibly benefit a tiny minority.
According to Starnes, 98 percent of the patients at Iron Mountain identify as some kind of Christian, leaving a mere two percent of patients who might take offense at Christian symbols displayed in a Christian chapel.
Starnes’ assessment is that the VA has a bad case of misplaced priorities.
“Considering the VA hospital’s recent troubles,” Starnes quipped, “you’d think they would welcome all the prayer they could get.”
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