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WASHINGTON, DC -- The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released a memorandum updating its policy guidance on religious expression and display of religious items. The policy guidance states that the VA "must remain neutral" regarding the "use of any religious or secular items in the display" offered by outside groups and individuals.The memorandum was released following a string of incidents in which Bibles had been removed from POW/MIA displays.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, former U.S. Army Delta Force commander and current Family Research Council executive vice president, made the following comments:
"I am grateful that the VA finally made the right decision to allow religious items – including the Bible – in displays that honor the sacrifice of those who have suffered through captivity in wartime as well as those who have never been recovered and returned and are still missing as a result of combat while serving in the U.S. military.
“The VA rightly concluded that honoring our service members through table displays that include religious items does not violate the U.S. Constitution or any other law.
“This guidance is long overdue because, unfortunately, various VA officials have been misled by militant secularist groups that have shown contempt for this display tradition and disregarded the families of the MIAs and the POWs themselves.
“While we are encouraged that the VA has finally done the right thing, it should not require tens of thousands of petitions to pressure the VA to come down on the side of the very freedoms that our service members are fighting to defend,” conclude Boykin.