VA removes entire Missing Man Table display after tiny group of veterans asked for the Bible to be removed

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Bible on a table by is licensed under Canva
LEXINGTON, KY - The Virginia Health Care System has ordered the removal of Bibles from the display of all Missing Man tables. The Bible will reportedly be replaced with a journal filled with nothing more than blank pages. 

The Missing Man displays are meant to honor service members who are either prisoners of war or missing in action (POW/MIA); part of the display has traditionally included a Bible.

In a recent memo, the VA healthcare system wrote, "All table displays within VA Lexington Health Care System will contain the following: small table, white tablecloth, single rose, vase, yellow ribbon, slice of lemon, salt, bread plate, glass, candle, empty chair, and a journal."

According to reports, a group of 12 veterans from a VA medical center in Kentucky requested that the Bible be removed from the table. Those veterans expressed their dismay about the Bible to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and on their behalf the MRFF's Mikey Weinstein sent an email to Russell Armstead, executive director of the Lexington, Kentucky, VA Health Care System.

In that email, Weinstein allegedly demanded that the Bible be removed from the table, citing the VA's own regulations that prohibit the display of items promoting one religion. Weinstein also allegedly said that the "presence" of the Bible on the Missing Man table was an "atrocious and unconstitutional act of Christian supremacy."

He allegedly called the cherished military tradition, "A partisan display to promote and proselytize Christianity and only Christianity is an atrocious and singularly ignominious act of illicit, unconstitutional Christian supremacy, exclusivity, triumphalism, and exceptionalism."

In his email to Armstead, Weinstein also said that, "Such permanent displays of items promoting one religion aren't even allowed in VA facility chapels, let alone a VA medical center's lobby."

He wrote, "MRFF demands that you immediately remove the illicit, unconstitutional Christian proselytizing material from the referenced POW/MIA 'Missing Man Table' display, which is under your personal control and direction." In response, the VA Health Care System in Lexington, Kentucky, not only removed the Bible, but they got rid of the entire Missing Man Table display.

After the display was completely removed, one of MRFF's veteran clients sent an email, saying, in part, "We are following up with you regarding a new development at VAMC Lexington's Bowling Campus. Some of us heard that the VAMC removed the entire missing man/fallen comrade table display and were able to verify that it is no longer displayed. First and foremost, we thank you for continuing to support and defend the Constitution by securing this victory against government proselytization for and with us."

The email added, "That said, we are deeply disappointed in the lack of leadership at VAMC Lexington. As we noted previously, and as you conveyed to Director Armstead, we wanted to stop the government from proselytizing, not to stop the goverment from honoring those who remain missing in action and those who have falling."

The veteran continued by saying, "It is too easy to remove material from a solemn memorial that suggests those who practice Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, non-faith traditions, other monotheist or polytheist beliefs, and even several forms of Christianity (e.g., Catholicism, Latter Day Saints, Christian Scientists, etc) are unacceptable members of the Veteran community who are undeserving and unworthy of remembrance."

Before going on for another couple paragraphs, the email said, "The 'leadership,' however, made their position clear. They value proselytizing above and beyond all else, including honoring those who came before and those still yet to come."

A former AD and evangelical Christian Reserve Army chaplain as well as an MRFF supporter also wrote an email to Armstead, saying, in part, that he was "stunned that you have removed a very meaningful display honoring POW/MIA service-members at the VAMC Lexington merely because conscientious veterans have asked that a New Testament not be displayed to serve as representing the faiths of all service members."
 
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Comments

Mark

No doubt these veterans were creampuffs who never saw real combat.

James

I couldn’t agree with you more.

Karen

"In God We Trust"

Karen

"In God We Trust"

Rodney

Should I be surprised? Our government has shown to most veterans their lack of moral integrity and backbone. I’ve got a better idea; why don’t we let the liberals run our country. Let’s see how long they last when they stand before the throne of GOD and give an account of what they did.

Ensley

The constitution supports freedom of religion. Not only if it’s Christianity. US military is a blend of many different religions and a public display depicting only the Christian Bible is wrong. The right move would’ve been simply removed the Bible not to get hurt about it and remove the whole display.

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