Put the Bibles back!
A Navy spokesman confirms that Bibles will be returned to base lodges, and they’ve also launched an investigation to determine why God’s Word was removed from guest rooms in the first place.
Navy Exchange, which runs the base lodges, sent a directive out in June ordering the Bibles removed, after the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint. The atheist group alleged the books were a violation of the U.S. Constitution and amounted “to a government endorsement of that religious text.”
Navy spokesman Ryan Perry said the decision was made without their knowledge.
“In June 2014, Navy Exchange Command (NEXCOM) made a decision, without consultation of senior Navy leadership, to transfer religious materials from the Navy Lodge to the local command religious program,” Perry said in a written statement. “That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review.”
During the review process, Perry said the “religious materials” that were removed will be returned.
The Bibles had been donated to the Navy by Gideons International, a global ministry that provides copies of the Good Book to schools, military personnel and hotels.
Tim Wildmon, of the American Family Association, called the Navy’s decision great news. He said thousands of their supporters contacted the Navy to protest the removal.
“We must be alert to what the secularists are doing inside the military,” he told me. “But this reversal proves that those who believe in religious freedom can make a difference when we take action.”
Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said he was overwhelmed with calls from active duty and retired Navy personnel who were livid that Navy Exchange pulled the Good Book.
He credited their outrage with forcing the Navy to reconsider the ban.
“I believe it is because people like these veterans rose up and said enough is enough,” Crews told me.
"I am most grateful that the Navy has decided to keep Bibles in their lodges and guest quarters while they review this policy,” he said. “It is my sincere hope that Navy leaders will realize that there is nothing wrong with allowing religious literature to be placed in these rooms.”
The offended atheists are not commenting – at least not yet. Their complaints seem to be much ado about nothing – but then again – isn’t that what atheism is all about?
I’m still puzzled how a Bible tucked away in a hotel desk could cause such angst among the godless crowd. Are they afraid they might learn something through osmosis?
The Navy stressed that they make “every reasonable effort to accommodate the religious practices of our members, and places a high value on religious freedoms for all.”
In my new book, “God Less America,” I issue a call to action for people of faith – to stand up and fight back. Religious liberty is under attack – and the atheists are specifically targeting Christians.
But the Navy’s decision to return the Bibles is evidence that demands a verdict – that when people of faith stand united and speak up with one voice – we can right a wrong.
Well done, patriots. Well done.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America."