Navy Investigating Inclusion of Bible on POW/MIA Table Following Complaint

ICC Note: Following a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the United States Navy is investigating a Bible placed on a POW/MIA display table in a naval hospital. The MRFF asserted that the presence of the Bible in the display is unconstitutional as it violates the US Constitution’s Establishment Clause. However, the National League of POW/MIA Families has shared that a Bible is traditionally placed in these displays as a representation of finding strength through faith.

04/10/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – The U.S. Navy is reportedly conducting an investigation after an organization that seeks to separate the Messiah from the military filed a complaint about the presence of a Bible and a notation of America being “one nation under God” at a POW/MIA missing man table at a Naval hospital in Okinawa, Japan.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), led by Mikey Weinstein, recently submitted a complaint through New York-based attorney Donald Rehkopf Jr., requesting that both the Bible and the placard be removed. Weinstein states that 26 service members, including those who profess to be followers of Christ, are a part of the complaint.

“Why is that Bible there?” Weinstein remarked to the publication Stars and Stripes. “Can you imagine if somebody put a Quran there, or the book of Satan, or the Book of Mormon? It violates the [First Amendment’s Establishment Clause] as well as DoD and Navy regulations.”

According to the National League of POW/MIA Families, the Bible is traditionally present at missing man tables, and “represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.” The display additionally includes a place setting, a rose and a candle.

The Okinawa display includes a placard explaining the meaning of the items, and the above quote, written in both English and Japanese. Weinstein wants the wording removed.

“The statement on the exhibit’s placard is nothing more than an illegal, unconstitutional proselytization from an extremist, fundamentalist Christian sect,” the complaint, submitted by Rehkopf, reads. “It ignores all followers of other religions and totally ignores all those who subscribe to no religion—all in blatant violation of [Department of Defense] and [Department of the Navy] regulations.”

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