Wisconsin VA distances itself from religion (October 25, 2018)

After getting a letter from FFRF, the Milwaukee VA Medical Center will take measures to ensure that no future events appear to be entangled with religious sponsorship.

A Milwaukee resident contacted FFRF to report that the Medical Center co-sponsored and advertised a “Bike Blessing” event in June. Posters advertising the event indicated that it was co-sponsored by the VA Chaplain Service and included the VA seal at the bottom, along with text that said, “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs / Veterans Health Administration / Milwaukee VA Medical Center.”

“Setting aside the VA chaplaincy itself, any Medical Center promotion or organization of a religious event poses serious constitutional concerns,” FFRF Associate Counsel Sam Grover wrote in his Sept. 5 letter to the medical center. “Advertising this event and including the VA seal on those advertisements sends the message that the VA endorses the blessing ceremony’s religious message.”

FFRF received a response from the VA stating that, in the future, “there will be no marketing that would imply VA sponsorship of the event, and [it] will additionally ensure that marketing materials clearly state that any religious aspects of the event are not sponsored by the VA.”


Freedom From Religion Foundation