VA Complies With Establishment Clause; Christians Cry Discrimination 06 Jul 2008Posted by Jessa in Politics, Religion.
Tags: christianity, establishment clause, Religion, religious freedom, VA
Yet another example of “Help! Help! I’m being oppressed because the government doesn’t grant my religion special privileges over other religions!”:
North Carolina Congressman Robin Hayes says some officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs are engaging in anti-Christian discrimination.
Last year officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs ordered the VA Hospital in Fayetteville to remove all Christian religious symbols from its chapel – crosses, Bibles, and stained glass windows. According to the VA, the chapel must remain “neutral” in order to make worshippers of all faiths “comfortable.” Chaplain Archie Barringer retired from his position as service chief at the hospital in protest.
Congressman Hayes takes issue with the hospital’s actions. “This is the very basic and crux and core of our religious faith and of who we are in this country. And it has certainly offended me, as I know it has a number of other people, to see these articles of faith removed that our veterans have fought, bled, and died in order to preserve,” Hayes explains.
So the VA, in order to make a publicly-financed space inclusive of all faiths represented in our military, decide to remove symbols that are specific to a particular religion. That’s not anti-Christian discrimination. Anti-Christian discrimination would be to put a sign on the chapel door saying “No Christians Allowed”. What they’ve done is remove the pro-Christian discrimination, in compliance with the Establishment Clause. You’re still free to worship there as you please.
And our veterans “have fought, bled, and died in order to preserve” Christian religious symbols? I’m sure that would come as news to the many non-Christian soldiers out there (and, yes, they exist). Let’s see what the Oath of Enlistment has to say:
I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. (So help me God.)
Hmmm. I do see a mention of “God” in the optional part at the end, but it doesn’t say which God. It mentions defending and maintaining allegiance to the Constitution and obeying the President and superior officers. I don’t see any reference to crosses, Bibles, or stained-glass windows. It seems that Mr. Hayes was wrong. Color me shocked.
And for those Christians out there who don’t understand why the VA wisely decided to remove the crosses and Bibles, ask yourself how comfortable you would feel praying in a chapel (paid with your tax dollars) that contains exclusively Muslim (or Jewish, or Hindu, or Buddhist, etc.) iconography.