Written by Don Byrd
A federal lawsuit filed in New Hampshire claims a Bible included in a display at a Veterans hospital violates religious liberty protections of the First Amendment and should be removed. The display is a memorial dedicated to all missing or fallen service members, the Complaint argues, and thus should not be limited to honoring Christians.
Associated Press reports:
The Bible was carried by a prisoner of war in World War II and became part of the Missing Man Table honoring missing veterans and POWs at the entranceway of the Manchester VA Medical Center. The Department of Veterans Affairs said Tuesday the table was sponsored by a veterans group called the Northeast POW/MIA Network.
[Plaintiff James] Chamberlain, a devout Christian, said in the lawsuit the table should be a memorial to all who have served, regardless of their beliefs. The suit said the original POW/MIA table tradition was started by a group of Vietnam combat pilots and didn’t include a Bible as one of the items.
The Bible in question was initially removed following a letter from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) informing the facility that 14 veterans had contacted the organization with complaints about its presence in the memorial, but was replaced after backlash of support.
Last year, the Bible in a similar display in a Wyoming facility was replaced with an interfaith text after complaints from the MRFF.