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VA Hospitals Can Distribute, Display Bibles Under Revised Policy

After a legal fight over a POW/MIA table, Veterans Affairs clarifies religious liberty protections.

In the wake of a Supreme Court decision permitting a cross to remain on a public highway, the Department of Veterans Affairs has revised its policies on religious symbols in displays at VA facilities.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie announced last Wednesday that the new policies will reduce inconsistencies among VA facilities.

“We want to make sure that all of our Veterans and their families feel welcome at VA, no matter their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a key part of how we accomplish that goal,” he said in a statement.

“These important changes will bring simplicity and clarity to our policies governing religious and spiritual symbols, helping ensure we are consistently complying with the First Amendment to the US Constitution at thousands of facilities across the department.”

The revised policies “allow the inclusion in appropriate circumstances of religious content in publicly accessible displays at VA facilities.”

They also permit patients to request and be provided with sacred texts, symbols and religious literature during treatment at facilities or visits to VA chapels. And they allow the VA “to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols at its facilities and distribute them to VA patrons under appropriate circumstances or to a patron who requests them.”

The announcement noted the Supreme Court’s June 20 decision, in which it permitted the so-called “Peace Cross,” a World War I monument in Bladensburg, Maryland, to remain in a traffic circle. The VA said the case “reaffirmed the important role religion plays in the lives of many Americans and its consistency with Constitutional principles.”

The policy revisions, …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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