An atheist who fights religious expression in the U.S. armed forces has forced the military to yank Bibles from displays honoring missing war veterans.
The latest campaign from atheist Mikey Weinstein is over so-called “Missing Man” displays, which are tables often located in military dining facilities to recognize war-time service members who were killed, went missing, or were imprisoned.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, says the Veterans Administration has so far ignored organizations urging the VA to return the Bibles.
Several organizations including the Chaplain Alliance have signed a formal letter urging the VA to ignore Weinstein’s complaint.
“To those who have lost loved ones, and particularly those whose loved ones were POW’s who never returned,” Crews says, “it is very grievous that this symbol of faith has been removed.”
Weinstein, an attorney and U.S. Air Force veteran, operates the oddly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which fields complaints from military personnel offended by religion.
Military news website Military.com reports Weinstein’s group has forced the removal of a Bible at a VA clinic in Youngstown, Ohio and a second VA clinic in Akron.
For its story, the news website reviewed “Missing Man” memorials at other military bases and VA facilities, and reported that the Bible is not always included in the display. That suggests that placing a Bible on a table is not a requirement by the U.S. military.
The story also explained that veterans group Disabled American Veterans set up and maintained the table in Youngstown, which means a private organization – not a branch of the armed forces – included the Bible.
The clinic there originally stood up to Weinstein, and backed the DAV, before backing down to him.
Weinstein has a mixed record of forcing the Pentagon and base commanders to bow to his demands. His best luck has often been with the U.S. Air Force, though Cruz told OneNewsNow last year that USAF commanders had grown tired of Weinstein.
Weinstein and his group most recently threatened a lawsuit unless the U.S. Air Force Academy forced its football players to stop their after-game prayers.
The threat was ignored.
Weinstein complained last year after the online newsletter for an Air Force unit included a story about a sergeant’s mission trip. The story described how the senior master sergeant, Larry Gallo, took his family on a Christmas season medical mission trip to Mexico.
Weinstein called the story “shameless” and “a public promotion of religion,” but the Air Force reviewed the matter and allowed the story to remain.
More than a dozen organizations, including the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, have signed a letter sent to Robert McDonald, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Crews says the coalition has obtained more than 60,000 signatures asking for the VA to reinstate the Bible on the “Missing Man” tables.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.