After complaints were expressed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a Bible and a bible verse were removed from a display at an Ohio Veteran’s Administration clinic.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, stated the presence of the Bible at a Missing Man Table was a violation of the U.S. Constitution, said Fox News. According to The National League of POW/MIA Families, the Bible represents strength gained through faith, and the belief that the United States was founded under God.
Weinstein said he requested the removal of the religious materials on behalf of about a dozen military veterans. However, clinic administrator Brian Reinhart stated that no one had ever complained about the presence of the Bible on the Missing Man Table.
Nevertheless, Reinhart informed Weinstein via email that the Bible and verse had been 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," Reinhart explained.
However, various military and religious personnel disagree with the decision, such as The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia.
"MIA/POW tables have been part of military tradition for generations," explained Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. "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. Many have died to protect the right of Americans to have and read the Bible."
Nevertheless, Weinstein is grateful that the clinic is open to being more inclusive to veterans of various religious backgrounds.
"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.”