“Anti-Religion Hysteria” as VA Removes Bible From POW Table. Again.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently declared “victory” after a second Veterans Administration facility altered the traditional POW/MIA remembrance table in response to his complaints.
An MRFF representative, retired US Army Capt Jordan Ray, had filed the complaint about the facility more than an hour and a half away from him — so far out of his way, in fact, that he asked the VA to take the time to photograph the “new” display so he didn’t have to drive down to do it himself, giving the MRFF a fundraising prop for free.
Writing at FoxNews.com, Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute decried Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s attempts to overturn the tables of POW/MIA remembrance memorials around the country:
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and president of the deceptively-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), demanded an Akron, Ohio VA clinic remove the Bible from its POW/MIA remembrance table. This isn’t the first time the MRFF has targeted a symbol of faith for our nation’s POWs and MIAs. In 2014, it attacked remembrance tables in the Air Force and Navy.
It goes without saying that Weinstein has an issue with the Bible. Besides his long-running attacks on POW/MIA tables, his MRFF also criticized members of the military for daring to openly display the Bible on their desks — with Mikey Weinstein calling it an act of “extremists.”
In his disassembling of Weinstein’s invective, Berry makes an astute point:
If what Weinstein says is true, then wouldn’t a diverse chorus of American POWs join his cacophony? Instead, we find just the opposite. American POWs frequently cited faith in God as a source of comfort and strength during their captivity…
Berry goes on to list the stories of Sijan, Denton, and Risner — all familiar to those in the military who have learned of the privations of the POWs in Vietnam. To the point, while Weinstein cites a few “veterans” who are complaining, the remembrance table isn’t about “veterans.” It’s about POWs and MIAs.
Berry further makes a point that is explicit — and accurate [emphasis added]:
So much for Weinstein’s accusation that the Bible hurts morale and discipline! The ones hurting morale are the anti-religion cynics. Weinstein’s remarks are the real “unbridled slap-in-the-face” to men like Captain Sijan, Admiral Denton, and General Risner.
Valid. Weinstein attacks things like Bibles or prayer and says such acts of religious expression are harmful to national security or “eviscerate” the military — yet there is no evidence of such detriment in the decades or centuries these traditions have continued. Of course, Weinstein doesn’t ever cite evidence for his wild accusations. His ludicrous attacks are unfounded and counter to law and liberty. They’re little more than an attempt to gain publicity — and “donations” for the charity that largely funds his personal pocketbook.
As Berry accurately states, there is nothing illegal or remotely wrong about having a Bible on a POW/MIA display, consistent with the tradition of the remembrance table. In fact, military EO offices and IGs have supported the displays in the past. Since policy generally allows them (but does not require them), Weinstein has to go after them one-by-one — hoping individual VA officials will be more concerned about his threats than doing the right thing.
Notably, it took Weinstein nearly 10 years before he had the institutional courage to attack the politically sensitive POW/MIA table (during which time he presumably allowed the military to be “eviscerated”), and an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant actually started before Weinstein did. No doubt plans to attack the Code of Conduct of the US Fighting Force are also somewhere on his list, as well, given its explicit reference to belief in God.