As previously noted, both the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claimed they contacted the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, to demand a Bible be removed from the POW/MIA display in the foyer. The Bible was removed “out of an abundance of caution,” but the backlash — and a subsequent legal review — led the VA to apologize and return the Bible, which was donated by World War II POW and Army Air Corps TSgt Herman “Herk” Streitburger [emphasis added]:
“Manchester VAMC officials temporarily removed the Bible from the display out of an abundance of caution,” VA spokeswoman Kristin Pressly said in a statement provided to USA TODAY. “Following that removal, Manchester VAMC received an outpouring of complaints from Veterans and other stakeholders – many of whom dropped off Bibles at the facility – in protest of this action.”
Pressly said that after consulting with lawyers, the facility determined the Bible will stay and “remain indefinitely as part of the missing man display, a secular tribute to America’s POW/MIA community.”
“We apologize to the Veterans, families and other stakeholders who were offended by our incorrect removal of this Bible,” she said.
Note that this apology came from Kristin Pressly, speaking for the VA, not the Manchester medical facility.
Now, James Chamberlain, described as a “devout Christian” and “Air Force veteran,” has filed a lawsuit (PDF) to force the Manchester VA to remove Read more
The US Court of Appeals for the DC circuit ruled last week that the US House of Representatives was not required to permit an atheist to “pray”. Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation had sued Patrick Conroy, the former House Chaplain, for denying him the opportunity to “pray” at the opening of the legislative day.
Importantly, the court made a point of saying the House’s exercise was a religious exercise — and since Barker wasn’t offering a religious exercise, he had no claim: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein continues to scour the country in search of POW/MIA remembrance tables about which he can complain — if they should have the gall to have the traditional Bible on them.
Weinstein has had some (though not total) success over the years wielding his “ignoramus’ veto” over the Bibles in the displays. It has tended to be the gift that keeps on giving, because no matter how the targeted organization responds, Weinstein will try to vaunt the story in the press and use it as fundraising material. Either it is a great victory for his anti-Christian cause, or it is an indicator of Christians trying to take over the world. Either way, he tells his followers, send more money.
Many of the groups that have responded by removing Bibles from POW/MIA tables have done so simply because it seems like the “easier” course of action — to make the loudest critic go away. As a result, when the opposing viewpoint raises cries later, the organizations shrug.
However, the First Liberty Institute recently weighed in Read more
It’s always interesting to see how the military, and even the different branches within it, navigate “the holidays” at this time of year. Some, it seems, sincerely think mentioning the Christian celebration that occurs at this time every year is somehow forbidden.
For the record, however, Secretary of Defense James Mattis didn’t hesitate to send a message to the Armed Forces saying “Merry Christmas.”
The New York National Guard participated in an uncensored Christmas Eve Road March.
Task Force Raider in Poland “spread Christmas cheer” at a local Read more
The Naming Ceremony — long a fighter pilot tradition — has apparently wound its way into the earliest stages of a pilot’s career. A Naming Ceremony for student pilots at Laughlin AFB, Texas, ultimately contributed to a squadron commander, group commander, and wing commander getting fired:
In a rare action, the Air Force said Wednesday it had relieved three commanders at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio.
The move came in the wake of incidents in the past year that included a female pilot being given a vulgar name during a drinking ritual and another Read more
An article out of Mountain Home AFB assures the world that the time honored tradition of the roof stomp (literally) is alive and well. The article talks about a commander moving on from command, and the way he was received by his unit two years ago:
Lt. Col Gary Marlowe, 389th Fighter Squadron commander is initiated as the new commander with a roof stomp June 2015, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
That’s LtCol Gary “Ziggy” Marlowe, a name which carries on another tradition, for those old Read more
At Osan Air Base, Korea, SSgt Mario Tomasello stands in front of the 36th Fighter Squadron “Flying Fiends” patch board, where fighter pilots leave their nametags as they move on to other assignments.
In the background, note a nametag is inverted: Read more
The American Humanist Association’s bid to have the Bladensburg Peace Cross war memorial torn down (or its cross member sawn off) continued this month with oral arguments at the Fourth Circuit court of appeals. The AHA lost their case last year and appealed in December 2015.
The First Liberty Institute, which is defending the cross, accurately Read more