An Ohio Veteran’s Administration clinic was forced to remove a Bible and a Bible verse from its POW/MIA display after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation reported it, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported Monday.
The religious pieces were originally featured on a “Missing Man Table” created by volunteers at the out-patient clinic in Akron.
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein claimed that the Bible and Bible verse violated the constitutional provisions listed under the First Amendment. According to Weinstein, his objection came at the request of nearly a dozen, mostly Christian, military veterans who frequent the clinic.
But according to clinic administrator Brian Reinhart, no one ever complained, which would call Weinstein’s allegations into question. Despite the dubious circumstances, Reinhart gave in and removed the items from the display.
“I just wanted to let you know that the Bible has been removed from our POW table and the Bible verse has been removed from the framed scripture,” Reinhart told Weinstein in an email.
The church and state separatist was delighted with the decision.
“MRFF’s veteran client soldiers and we at the MRFF as well, applaud this VA Clinic Administrator’s sage wisdom and courage in recognizing that the U.S. military is comprised of hundreds if not thousands of diverse faiths as well as no faiths,” Weinstein wrote in a statement. “We heartily commend his taking decisive and swift action to remedy the situation so that the MIA/POW table truly honors all.”
Reinhart told Starnes that he was the sole person responsible for ordering the Bible’s removal from the display.
“In discussing it with the volunteers, we thought as though it was the best course of action since several veterans did express concerns regarding it,” he said.
Now, some are saying that Reinhart made a huge mistake.
“MIA/POW tables have been part of military tradition for generations,” Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said. “They have always included certain elements including a Bible.”
The official POW/MIA website has a description of the Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony, which lists the elements to be included in every display.
“The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God,” the description reads.
Crews expressed his disappointment with the decision to remove the Bible and scripture.
“It is a sad day when the Veteran's Administration caves to one narrow view of the proper way to honor the courage and sacrifice of those who have dedicated their lives in service of their country,” he said. “Many have died to protect the right of Americans to have and read the Bible. Surely we can honor their sacrifice by allowing a Bible at their table of remembrance.”
This is not the first time a Bible has been removed from a Missing Man table. In 2014 the holy book was removed from a table at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida to make the display more “inclusive.”
(H/T: Fox News)