Vice President Mike Pence took aim at a lawsuit challenging a Bible displayed at a Veterans Affairs hospital during a speech at the American Legion’s 101st National Convention on Wednesday.
Pence insisted the Bible at the Manchester, New Hampshire, VA hospital would remain visible and criticized the previous administration’s approach to the issue.
“You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire,” said Pence. “There’s a lawsuit underway. It’s really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct.”
“But let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones,” he said.
The lawsuit in question was filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation earlier this year. It challenged the display, which honors missing veterans and prisoners of war, because it includes a Bible, which was previously carried by a prisoner of war during World War II.
The lawsuit claims the Bible’s presence at a government-run health center violates the First Amendment by appearing to privilege one religion over another. Veterans of Christian, atheist, agnostic, and other religious backgrounds had complained about the Bible prior to the lawsuit being filed.
Pence promised to protect religious freedom for all veterans, drawing a standing ovation.
“We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith. And my message to the New Hampshire VA hospital is: The Bible stays,” said Pence.
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