By FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.)
Every veteran who has served honorably in the uniform of the American military deserves to be appreciated and respected. But recent removal of a Bible from a POW/MIA display at a Veterans Administration clinic in Akron, Ohio because a veteran was offended, is sadly yet another example of the blatant disregard for religious liberty perpetrated throughout the government offices of the current administration.
When an atheist group complained to the clinic administrator on behalf of an anonymous veteran, the director removed the Bible along with a framed scripture. The display from which these items were removed is known by veterans as the "Missing Man" table and is a common display at military functions and installations across the country. Its purpose is to honor the sacrifice of those who have suffered through captivity in wartime as well as those who have never been recovered and returned and are still missing as a result of combat while serving in the U.S. military. What is most disturbing is that a veteran would target what has become a sincere attempt to honor and remember those comrades who never returned and those who suffered so much to uphold our freedoms. Have the families of any of the MIAs complained? What about the POWs or their families?
Thus far, no, which casts a skeptical light on this situation since the veteran who allegedly felt threatened by the display never raised the issue with the leadership of the clinic. Isn't that what should be expected of a combat-tested veteran? In capitulating to the demands of MMRF, the administrator of this clinic, Mr. Brian Reinhart, has shown a lack of courage, a poor knowledge of the Constitution, contempt for tradition, and a disregard for the families of the MIAs and the POWs themselves. This display violates no regulations nor the U.S. Constitution.
Ultimately, the actions of Mr. Reinhart are disgraceful and support the agenda of one veteran who thinks the Bible is a threat, if that veteran actually exists. In reality, veterans know who the enemy really is and that enemy includes those organizations across the country who thrive on robbing Americans of their Constitutional rights under the guise of defending the Constitution. In response to the actions taken, FRC is currently developing a petition to go to the VA to demand the return of these items to the POW/MIA display, so please stand by to sign that pledge. For more on the controversy, check out Tony's interview with Fox News's Todd Starnes from Tuesday's "Washington Watch" radio show.