Navy Goes Overboard with Bible Purge
There wasn't room at the inn for Jesus -- and now there isn't room at the Navy's Lodges either! After a string of good news on the religious liberty front, the Navy seems to be falling back into the military's bad habits on anti-faith censorship. Despite a longtime partnership with the Gideons, the director of the Navy Lodge program is tossing the nightstand Bibles, explaining that the giveaways will now be at the commanders' discretion.
The directive, which was signed back in mid-June, started taking effect recently, as housekeepers and other sailors were instructed to purge the lodges of the free Bibles. At least two employees -- one Lodge worker and an active duty serviceman -- contacted our friends at AFA and Fox News to blow the whistle on the change. "We were told today... that due to a new policy by the CEO of NEXCOM, Rear Admiral Robert Bianchi, we were to remove the Bibles from the rooms," a housekeeper said. "They told us to put them in boxes, where they would be taken to a donation center somewhere."
The actual memo, signed by the facilities' managers, made it clear that the Navy doesn't "require or solicit religious items (e.g. Bibles) for its guest rooms." "Over the years," it continues, "organizations such as the Gideons International have offered to place Bibles in the guest room; and local management historically allowed them to be placed in Navy Lodge rooms. Some Navy Lodges have Bibles in guest rooms and some do not. To ensure a consistent policy, the Navy Lodge General Manager will refer all inquiries about placing religious materials, including Bibles, to the Chaplain's Office for the military installation where the Navy Lodge is located."
But instead of referring inquiries, at least 40 Lodges are just pitching the Bibles altogether. "We looked at our policy," a NEXCOM spokeswoman told Todd Starnes, "and realized there wasn't a consistent policy regarding Navy Lodges. We decided we needed to have some consistency." Unfortunately, that "consistency" didn't include a commitment to the longstanding tradition of making the Bibles available -- or an acknowledgement of the important role faith plays in the military.
And it's a prominent role -- one that goes all the way back to President Franklin Roosevelt, who not only condoned the practice of Scripture reading, but wrote the introduction to the Armed Forces' own Gideon Bibles, given to every soldier during World War II. Innkeepers are supposed to cater to the desires of the guests, many of whom probably use the Gideons' copy. If Freedom From Religion Foundation doesn't like the Bible, leave it in the drawer!
Late last week, the Pentagon defended the National Guard in Missouri for allowing these same Bibles to be distributed to new recruits. It's time those same leaders came to the defense of the Gideons' partnership with Navy hotels -- otherwise, the only thing guests will be lodging is complaints. Register yours by calling 757-631-3600 or 757-502-7496 and ask Rear Admiral Robert Bianchi and Michael Bockelman to reinstate the Bibles in Navy Lodges!
Also, if you're wondering about the downside of pulling the Bible from the military is, look no further than our public schools. Tune in tomorrow, Wednesday, August 13 at noon (ET), for an FRC lecture about the heavy price society has paid for removing God from classrooms. Don't miss "Putting the Bible and Prayer Back in Public Schools" with Dr. William Jeynes. Click here for more information.
The IRS's Not-So-Golden Retrievers...
The only thing more difficult to salvage than the IRS's reputation may be Lois Lerner's hard drive. For months, tech experts testified that they tried to crack the computer of the disgraced head of the IRS's tax exempt office -- to no avail. This week, the computer team behind the city's single most important recovery process submitted sworn statements to court insisting that they did everything in their power to restore the lost data but failed to find two years of Lerner's emails -- messages crucial to Congress's investigation of the conservative targeting scandal.
Both technicians testified that they didn't see "any sign of physical damage" to the hard drive but were still unable to do what IT specialists across the country explain is not nearly as difficult as liberals are making it out to be: retrieve the incriminating messages. The statements, which the IRS is hoping will head off a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, are the latest in a string of embarrassments for the agency, which is either criminally incompetent, dishonest -- or both.
Unfortunately, "sworn statements" don't mean much in an administration that harbors an Attorney General who lies to Congress under oath -- and Lerner, who testified that she did nothing wrong. "This IRS filing seems to treat as a joke Judge Sullivan's order requiring the IRS to produce details about Lois Lerner's 'lost' emails and any efforts to retrieve and produce them to Judicial Watch," said the nonprofit's president, Tom Fitton. "Frankly, it seems the cover-up continues."
On September 14, Broad Stripes and Bright Stars...
This year America is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the song that became our National Anthem: "The Star Spangled Banner." Most people have never the story of how God used ordinary Christians to do extraordinary things during the desperate days of 1814.
But on Sunday, September 14th, at 7:00 p.m. (ET), we'll tell that story as it's never been told before during a live nationwide simulcast we are calling "Star Spangled Sunday." This fast paced, 90-minute simulcast event promises to be the largest nationwide, pre-election gathering of Christian citizens and will be a wonderful way for citizens across America to celebrate the 200th birthday of the Star Spangled Banner.
Don't miss conservative leaders Governor Mike Huckabee, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, Conestoga Wood owner Anthony Hahn, David and Jason Benham, Dr. Rick Scarborough, and Dr. Mark Harris. Click over to the Star Spangled Sunday website to learn how you and your church can take part.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.