After suspending a Bible studying for being “offensive” and then restoring it amid a campaign to petition the president, a California veterans home now is investigating the Bible study leader for “discussing heaven and salvation.”
The battle won’t end until religious freedom is fully restored for residents of the Veterans Home of California in Yountville, says the Pacific Justice Institute, which is defending the leader, Artis Breau.
Pacific Justice contends it’s an attack on a Christian woman who describes her work this way: “God put me in the business of helping people find Him.”
Her Bible study was suspended, she was stripped of her volunteer chaplaincy responsibilities and threatened with removal from the home, PJI said.
In response, PJI set up the Defend Artis webpage, which petitions the president on her behalf.
It explains CalVet punished her for the offense of “leading Bible studies for the most elderly and frail residents.”
All because of “official disagreement with and hostility toward her particular religious beliefs,” the petition explains. The study was reinstated just days ago.
However, the government agency “continues to insist that it can investigate and substantiate allegations against Artis and her fellow residents for expressing religious views it deems ‘offensive,’ and even for discussing heaven and salvation,” PJI said.
“We are encouraged that CalVet realized it could no longer prohibit and threaten the veterans’ Bible study,” said PJI President Brad Dacus. “At the same time, the agency’s position that it can continue to punish religious expression it deems discourteous or offensive is unacceptable. We’ve won an important first round in this battle for these heroes, and we are committed to seeing this through to complete victory.”
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PJI began representing Breau last fall when staff at the Veterans home “complained that she had committed ’emotional abuse’ and ‘elder abuse’ by allegedly causing another resident to lose sleep after a discussion about heaven and hell.”
While CalVet now has admitted that allegation was unsubstantiated, it is claiming that she knowingly offended others by setting up a Hannukkah display that included a Scripture passage about Jesus going to the Temple.
The staff rabbi at the facility was enraged, PJI said.
PJI attorney Matthew McReynolds, who defended Artis in an investigatory interview in March and has written numerous letters on her behalf, explained: “What we’ve seen at the Veterans Home of California should concern every freedom-loving American. Of all people, our veterans and their widows from the Greatest Generation should enjoy the greatest blessings of liberty – not the least. We’re not about to let up until these veterans have complete freedom.”
The petition asks President Trump and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie to intervene against the home’s threats to expel her and its order, later suspended, that she halt the Bible study.
Even now, the petition explains, after the study was reinstated, home officials have “continued to deny due process and insist [they] may investigate and punish Artis for simply expressing her faith.”