TWO MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS DUKE IT OUT OVER THE BIB
Two organizations dedicated to military personnel are locked in conflict over a Bible display dedicated to POWs and service members missing in action.
The Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New Hampshire featured the Bible, which belonged to a prisoner of war in WWII, as part of a memorial called The Missing Man Table. The medical center removed the Bible in response to a complaint from Military Religious Freedom Foundation claiming that it constituted government preference of one religion over another, but the bible’s new placement in a nearby display case angered the organization even more.
“That is still a Christian Bible. It is still promoting — particularly in the surrounding aspect of the POW-MIA remembrance, one of the most sacred things you could do in the military — one faith over another faith,” organization spokesman Mikey Weinstein
A concerned veteran of the Manchester VA Medical Center reported to FFRF that the center’s “missing man” table display honoring POW/MIA soldiers included a bible. FFRF took action to ensure that non-Christian service members were being equally honored.
Paul Martin of The Northeast POW-MIA Network, which constructed The Missing Man Table in 2018, countered that the Bible is a historic artifact symbolic of the WWII POW’s strength of faith and hope that he would return home. Martin said the Bible is not a government establishment of religion and that his organization hopes to return it to the memorial display under a protective casing to prevent damage and theft.
“That Bible is not just a religious artifact. That some people would say they’re stuffing religion down my throat. What it means is this guy held on to a lot of faith and hope, family and trust in this nation that they would do everything they possibly could to bring him home,” Martin said.Follow Joshua on TwitterSend tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.