Religious groups unite to fight military Bible removal

By Cheryl Chumley

The "Missing Man" display
The “Missing Man” display

A band of religious groups has united to fight off what they see is a steadfast creeping of atheist voices into the nation’s military that has led to blanket removal of Bibles from several U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinics and at least one Air Force base.

The Bibles are part of the “Missing Man” displays set up on federal properties to honor prisoners of war and those who’ve gone missing in action. The nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation has been demanding the removal of the Bible from these displays for months now, claiming the Good Book violates federal law as it imposes a religious belief on service members.

And as Fox News pointed, at least three VA clinics and an Air Force base have complied with the MRFF’s demands.

But now religious groups are stepping in and fighting back.

In a letter to Robert McDonald, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the coalition – made up of the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, First Liberty Institute, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, the Center for Military Readiness, the Freedom Alliance, Liberty Counsel, the Alliance for Defending Freedom, Freedom X, Judicial Watch, LION Associates, Military-Veterans Advocacy, Stand Up America US and the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers – pleaded the Bibles should be put back on display.

“The removal of the Bible not only violates the integrity of these displays, but insults those returned POWs who gained daily strength from their faith in the prisons of our enemies,” they wrote, Fox News reported. “When a governmental agency such as the VA removes any part of the display, it is a grave insult to the nation’s veterans who often gather together to honor those who have not returned, while also interfering with the message being expressed.”

“The Evidence Bible” is now available and includes, besides the King James version, dozens of articles expanding answers to questions such as why is there suffering, explanations about what Muslims believe and scientific facts written millennia before man discovered them.

Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who serves as executive vice president of the Family Research Council, said he signed the letter because he’s fed up with the VA’s “knee-jerk” reaction to complaints from the MRFF.

“It’s a sad situation that a guy would actually try to destroy the traditions of our military and the basic values of our country,” he said, to Todd Starnes with Fox News.

The “Missing Man” display was created during Vietnam conflict times and includes empty chairs for each of the five services, a red rose, an inverted glass, a yellow ribbon, salt on a plate, a lemon slice, a candle and a Bible.

“The Bible,” the script of the “Missing Man” ceremonial display states, “represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.”

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