Charleston Chapter – MOAA Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Member Login    News    Support our Charities    Photos    Event Calendar      
Charleston Chapter – MOAA


Recent News:
(Published in last 30 days)


Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 12/24/19
Don't Miss These Post Office Deadlines for Your Holiday Mail

Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Veterans more likely to be targeted by sophisticated financial scams

Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Companies that Recruit Veterans Often Fail to Hire Them, Data Shows

Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 02/29/20
Here's a New, Fast Way for Veterans to See Their Health Records

Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 02/29/20
VA Plans to Resolve all 'Legacy Appeals' by the End of 2022

Date Posted:11/07/19
This Story Expires on: 02/29/20
New Study Supports Using Shot to Treat PTSD

Date Posted:11/06/19
This Story Expires on: 11/17/19
The History of Veterans Day

Date Posted:11/06/19
This Story Expires on: 11/17/19
How Veterans Day was founded

Date Posted:11/06/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
7 tips for veterans to land a federal job

Date Posted:11/06/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
Space available mail will take longer

Date Posted:11/06/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Prescription drug costs, some Tricare fees to rise in 2020

Date Posted:11/05/19
This Story Expires on: 12/15/19
White House declares all of November as Veterans and Military Families month

Date Posted:11/01/19
This Story Expires on: 12/02/19
White House declares all of November as Veterans and Military Families month

Date Posted:11/01/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Veterans database launching to link veterans with entertainment industry employers

Date Posted:10/31/19
This Story Expires on: 01/15/20
Will VA be ready to process new ‘blue water’ Vietnam veterans benefits next year?

Date Posted:10/22/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
More questions answered as installations get ready for the potential 3 million extra shoppers

Date Posted:10/11/19
This Story Expires on: 09/30/20
WARNING Hackers target job hunting service members, veterans with sham employment website

Date Posted:10/11/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
Million Veterans Program is Now Open for Online Enrollment

Date Posted:10/11/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
George W. Bush’s portraits of veterans make Washington debut

Date Posted:10/09/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
Just What Is Open Season and Why Should You Care?

Date Posted:10/09/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
See the New 2020 Rates for Vision and Retiree Dental InsuranceMilitary dependents and retirees and their families should check out the 2020 Federal Em

Date Posted:10/09/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
Military spouses: Check out these hundreds of thousands of temporary job opportunities nationwide

Date Posted:10/09/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Latest Update Tricare Drug Costs to Increase More Than 40% in 2020

Date Posted:10/05/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
A pharmacy technician counts pills before filling a prescription. (U.S. Air Force/Bobby Jones)

Date Posted:10/05/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Disney Renews Armed Forces Salute for Another Year

Date Posted:10/03/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/20
VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide

Date Posted:10/03/19
This Story Expires on: 02/29/20
Free flu shots for Veterans at your local Walgreens

Date Posted:10/03/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Retirees, family members to see increases in dental and vision premiums next year

Date Posted:10/03/19
This Story Expires on: 01/31/20
Four College Degrees Veterans Need to Consider

Date Posted:09/26/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Millions More Vets and Caregivers Are About to Get Commissary, Exchange Access

Date Posted:09/26/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
New DoD Pain Rating Scale Will Help Military Doctors Assess Patients' Misery

Date Posted:09/26/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Should You Live On or Off Base?

Date Posted:09/26/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Cheap Lodging for Military Families

Date Posted:09/26/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
New eligibility rules for Arlington cemetery would exclude most non combat veterans

Date Posted:09/18/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
All troops will now get free credit monitoring service

Date Posted:09/18/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
This is the Pentagon’s plan for dealing with toxic chemical contamination on bases

Date Posted:09/11/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Tricare Open Enrollment for 2020 Begins Soon

Date Posted:09/09/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
New App from VA Streamlines Veterans’ Resources to Enhance Their Care

Date Posted:09/06/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Lawmakers to VA: Provide Health Care to All Veterans Made Sick by Burn Pits

Date Posted:09/06/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Military folks, here are some expert tips on picking the right charity for your donations

Date Posted:08/28/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Exchange Extends Online Shopping Pick Up Options

Date Posted:08/28/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
South Carolina State Veteran Benefits

Date Posted:08/23/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Pentagon Rolls Out New Spouse Transition Program

Date Posted:08/07/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Terminally Ill Military Kids Can Now Receive Both Treatment and Hospice

Date Posted:08/07/19
This Story Expires on: 11/30/19
Serving after service: How getting involved helped me overcome my fears and rediscover myself

Date Posted:07/03/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
5 Ways to Break the Ice When Networking

7 Affordable Ideas for Military Care Packages

Date Posted:06/04/19
This Story Expires on: 12/31/19
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center

Date Posted:06/03/19
This Story Expires on: 11/16/19
Korean War Vets Eligible for Free Return Tour

March 22 Luncheon Meeting

Military Star Card Questions & Answers

US Air Force Museum to Mark 75th Anniversary of Japan Raid

Scam Alert: Top Five Veteran Swindles

Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Breaking News   
Register for News Story Emails

VA secretary rejects Obama religious expression rules: 'They did not know the makeup of the force'
Posted on: 08/28/19
This Story Expires on: 10/31/19


Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie testifies before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) 


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.

“The last administration … had a very ahistoric approach [to veterans],” Mr. Wilkie said. “They did not know the makeup of the force. They did not know the history of this country when it came to religious foundations, the religious support for those in uniform.”

He said he grew up in a military family in North Carolina and believes the vast majority of veterans “identify themselves religiously.”

Meanwhile, a federal judge in New Hampshire will soon decide whether a Bible in a bolted-down display case in the lobby of a Manchester hospital funded by taxpayer dollars represents constitutionally protected speech.

A group of veterans, with support from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, filed a lawsuit in May to remove the Bible.

“The placement of the Christian Bible, here, is in violation of that fundamental proscription, that the government may not establish any religion,” the lawsuit states.

Mr. Wilkie, noting the department’s murky directives on religious memorabilia, said he empathized with VA administrators who initially removed the Bible decorating the POW/MIA memorial table before replacing the book. The Bible was donated by a World War II veteran who had survived a German prisoner of war camp.

“I think the leadership of the VA hospital was still not sure how to act given the directives of the last administration,” Mr. Wilkie said.

The VA secretary accused the Obama administration of banning the Army Chaplain Corps — which currently numbers 800, including student chaplains — from distributing religious materials, including Bibles, Torahs and Korans, to veterans, even those who request them.

The previous administration, he said, even forbade revelers from singing Christmas carols in VA hospitals.

“The underlying notion here is that there is a group of people who want to eliminate all indicia of religion and spirituality from the public square,” Mr. Wilkie said. “And they’ve used the military as their hobby horse, and that, to me, is a great disservice to the vast majority of those who served.”

Michael L. Weinstein, a lawyer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said his organization is looking forward to its day in court.

“I find it very ironic that VA Secretary Wilkie believes that upholding the separation of church and state regarding religious displays in VA facilities represents the interest of only a narrow number of people,” Mr. Weinstein said via email. “The Veterans Administration is what is called a ‘state actor’ and therefore must completely comply with the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of our U.S. Constitution.”

The VA has a number of policies on religious expression. A 2016 inspector general’s report found no evidence that those policies contributed to religious insensitivity, and Secretary David J. Shulkin at the time wrote that policies “generally aligned” with applicable federal laws.

However, the inspector general’s report noted that the VA had not adequately updated a variety of policies related to religious expression, including directive 0022 on religious symbols. In one instance, the inspector general found that a VA guidance on maintenance at national cemeteries hadn’t been updated in 22 years.

According to multiple press reports at the time, the Obama administration adopted rules meant to curtail reported instances of proselytizing at military bases and hospitals. Mr. Wilkie’s staff said those strictures will stay in place.

“I also want to make clear that a lot of people will try to say that [the VA’s memo on Bibles and public display] constitutes proselytization,” said John Mashburn, a senior adviser to Mr. Wilkie. “[But] the VA kept in places its prohibition against proselytization.”

Mr. Wilkie had served as a legal aide to various Republican members of Congress, including Jesse Helms and Trent Lott, before his March 2018 promotion from an undersecretary post in the Department of Defense to head of the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was named acting VA secretary before the nomination of presidential physician Ronny Jackson was scuttled by reports that Dr. Jackson created an abusive work environment and drank on the job.

The secretary said the spirituality of veterans is inseparable from the task of healing, especially during a crisis of depression, addiction and suicide.

“What I consider to be the bizarre argument that men and women who’ve been sent to the most dangerous corners of the Earth, the most miserable places on the planet, would walk by a Bible on a table dedicated to missing men and go to pieces by the sight of that Bible when so many of them have been under fire in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Liberia, [just] goes counter to all logic,” Mr. Wilkie said.

The VA secretary noted that the Army Chaplain Regimental Corps crest reads “Pro Deo et Patria.” He said any decision to remove the Bible in New Hampshire would diminish that motto.

“For veterans, we’re not going to deprive them of that [spiritual] comfort during what is often a very, very trying time,” he said.

- The Washington Times



Return to News Stories
Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA

· Copyright ©2019 Charleston Chapter – MOAA P.O. Box 70421 Charleston SC 29415 ·
· Contact Charleston Chapter – MOAA · Editorial and Privacy Policy · Webmaster · Browser and Email Settings ·
· Website by VetVentures.org · VetVentures.org Disclaimer ·
V.8