update History does not change just because people say it did.This is the headline from The Washington TimesVA secretary rejects Obama religious expression rules:
That is not what actually happened. This is what happened.
But this issue had nothing to do with the Obama administration, Snopes.com found. The VA chapel in Iron Mountain had been found to be in noncompliance with Spiritual and Pastoral Procedures that were established by the Department of Veterans Affairs and most recently revised in July 2008, six months before Obama became president. Those procedures require chapels at VA facilities be maintained as “religiously neutral” whenever they are not being used by chaplains for services associated with a particular faith: The rules state that no permanent religious symbols are to be incorporated in the construction or renovation of chapels.Back to the headline from The Washington Times VA secretary rejects Obama religious expression rules: 'They did not know the makeup of the force'
Robert Wilkie, the soft-spoken and managerial-minded secretary of Veterans Affairs, went public in a big way this summer when he said he refused to be “bullied” by a federal lawsuit claiming a Bible on display at a New Hampshire VA hospital violated the separation of church and state. In an interview with The Washington Times in his office at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Wilkie said displaying a Bible in a VA hospital is a matter of liberty and that the Obama administration erred in trying to eliminate religious symbols from the veterans health care system.Not so much on reliable reporting on that one!
VA secretary moves to permit public display of religious symbols
STARS AND STRIPES
By NIKKI WENTLING
Published: July 3, 2019
In addition to permitting public displays of religious symbols, the changes allow VA facilities to accept donations of religious literature and symbols, which can now be provided to patients and their families.WASHINGTON — Citing a need to protect religious liberty, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie issued new policies Wednesday permitting displays of religious and spiritual symbols in VA facilities.
A Bible is part of a memorial table display at the veterans hospital in Manchester, N.H. KRISTIN PRESSLY/MANCHESTER VA MEDICAL CENTER VIA AP
Religious symbols will now be allowed in public areas of VA facilities, including lobbies, public entrances, security and information desks and nursing stations. In directives sent to VA facilities nationwide, Wilkie clarified that displays “should respect and tolerate differing views” and “should not elevate one belief system over others.”
“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,” Wilkie 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 U.S. Constitution at thousands of facilities across the department.”
An official announcement about the new rules cited a recent Supreme Court decision in which a 40-foot “Peace Cross,” a tribute to World War I dead, was permitted to remain at a public intersection in Maryland. The court rejected the argument that the cross was an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity, but justices didn’t reach an across-the-board consensus about how to handle religious imagery on public property.
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