Freethought Today · March 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Christian bench removed from VA center

An FFRF member got a bench bearing two crosses at the entrance to a VA center in Michigan removed by calling up the patient advocate office and complaining.

The member, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a medically retired
soldier.

The bench, which was located in the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center Annex in Saginaw, Mich., had the silhouette of a praying soldier flanked by two crosses.

"Christianity is being singled out to be honored," the member wrote. "As an atheist soldier, I find it offensive when the Constitution I swore to support and defend is violated by my own government."

The member contacted the VA patient's advocate office, and a representative for that office "originally said that the bench was inclusive, since the chaplain wouldn't have authorized anything that violated the separation of church and state," the member writes. "She said that he was the authority on anything church/state related and that he was basically infallible, instead of realizing that having the chaplain as the one who determined if the church violated the state was a conflict of interest."

A few days later, the representative called him back.

"She said the chaplain had decided to have it removed and replaced with a plain bench," he said.

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