VA Hospitals to Allow Bible Displays, Distribution under New Policy
Two months after one of its hospitals was sued over the display of a Bible, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has revised its policy on religious liberty to clarify what is allowed.
The new policy, according to the department, will permit “religious literature, symbols and displays” and “protect religious liberty” at VA facilities while “ensuring inclusivity and nondiscrimination.”
The policy took effect on July 3.
“We want to make sure that all of our Veterans and their families feel welcome at VA, no matter their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a key part of how we accomplish that goal,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. “These important changes will bring simplicity and clarity to our policies governing religious and spiritual symbols, helping ensure we are consistently complying with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at thousands of facilities across the department.”
In May, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of veteran James Chamberlain against the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., over a POW/MIA public display that includes a Bible, Christian Headlines previously reported. The Bible sits atop a table with a plate, drinking glass, candle, flower, American flag and salt shaker. An empty chair is part of the display. It symbolizes the person who was imprisoned or went missing in action.
The Bible was donated by a veteran who was held in a German prisoner of war camp during World War
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