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

ICC Note: As previously reported, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) issued a complaint regarding the presence of a Bible on a traditional POW/MIA display at a Naval hospital. However, the United States Navy recently upheld the inclusion of the Bible on the display as it was found to pass “regulatory and constitutional muster.” The leader of the MRFF, Mikey Weinstein, has since shared his determination to continue fighting the matter.

04/21/2018 United States (Christian News Network) – The U.S. Navy has upheld the inclusion of the Bible on a “missing man” table at a Naval hospital in Okinawa, Japan after an organization that seeks to separate the Messiah from the military submitted a complaint about the Bible’s presence and a notation of America being “one nation under God.”

“As one of nine symbolic references on the table, the purpose of the book and accompanying description is not to promote religion, but to commemorate the strength and resolve required of POW and MIA personnel in the most difficult of times,” wrote Rear Admiral P.D. Pearigen of Navy Medicine West in San Diego in a response to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), led by Mikey Weinstein.

“Each item on the table contributes to an atmosphere of remembrance and solemnity without emphasizing the book as a religious text,” he said. “In light of the foregoing, neither further review nor an investigation of this matter is necessary.”

As previously reported, 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 missing man table further featured a placard that provided the aforementioned text as to what the Bible represents.

After successfully having the Bible removed from a missing man table at an Ohio Air Force Base in 2016, the MRFF submitted a complaint to Pearigen about the Okinawa display through New York-based attorney Donald Rehkopf Jr. Weinstein said that 26 service members, including those who profess to be followers of Christ, were a part of the grievance, and asked for the removal of both the Bible and the placard.

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