A Bible and Bible verse were removed from a POW/MIA display inside an Ohio Veteran’s Administration clinic after the notorious Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained.
The religious artifacts were part of a “Missing Man Table” recently erected by volunteers at an outpatient clinic in Akron.
MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein alleged the inclusion of the Bible was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. He said he intervened at the request of nearly a dozen, mostly Christian, military veterans who utilize the clinic.
However, clinic administrator Brian Reinhart said to his knowledge no one ever complained. In other words, Mr. Weinstein’s allegations are a bit dubious.
Nevertheless, Reinhart relented and evicted God’s Word 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 wrote in an email to Weinstein.
To say that Weinstein was giddy over the desecration of such a moving tribute would be an understatement.
“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,” he 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.”
I reached out to Reinhart and he told me that he alone was responsible for ordering the Bible removed 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 in a telephone interview.
Reinhart probably should’ve run Weinstein’s demand up the flag pole – because he may have committed an egregious error.
“MIA/POW tables have been part of military tradition for generations,” said Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “They have always included certain elements including a Bible.”
The official Navy blog clearly identifies the Bible as a significant part of the Missing Man Table & Honors Ceremony.
“The Bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God,” the Navy ceremony text reads.
The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia has similar wording in its ceremony.
“The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.”
Crews lamented the decision to remove the Good Book.
“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.”
It’s not the first time the military has desecrated a Missing Man table. In 2014 a Bible was removed from a display at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida – to make the table more “inclusive.”
And whenever you see the word “inclusive” it normally means Christians are about to get silenced.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.