Emails to Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: Lack of VA action of a Constitutional violation complaint
Date: March 31, 2016 at 6:33:34 PM MDT
To: [email protected]

To: Mr. Robert McDonald

Mr. Secretary,

Below is an excerpt from someone’s experience with contacting you.

Unfortunately, my personal experience has been one where you failed to respond- as did many VA officials I encountered while trying to get to the bottom of this situation.

Maybe the if the VA ignores its the it will go away mentality???

“Since then, hundreds of Veterans have called and e-mailed Bob. Sometimes he answers, sometimes his staff answers, but more importantly the Veteran gets an answer.”

http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/16731/veteran-posts-on-reddit-her-experience-contacting-secretary-mcdonald/

I’m still waiting for my clear logical and Constitutional legal answer. I deserve a plain english answer, and so does the public, hence these two journalists of a moderate and conservative media outlet are CC’d due to their demonstrated objectivity and integrity.

The VA, specifically, you, must have a clear and specific policy and answer on whether this situation I present to you is allowed, and if so, why. Please continue reading and See attached images and documents.

Biblical displays prominently displayed in the nations VA lobbies:

Look at the pictures and documents. They clearly promote, endorse, and favor Christianity and emplace it Supreme above any and all other faiths and ideological beliefs the diverse veterans and Soldiers of the United States military believe.

It is prothlesizing plain and simple under the guise of honoring veterans.

As a 100% total and permanatly disabled combat veteran with multiple SMC codes, who served 5 tours, I go to the VA for healing, not prothlesizing.

We emperially know a core tenent of Fundamental and Evangelical Christians is prothlesizing; and many do so by leaving Bibles behind wherever they go. Examples would be Guideon New Testament Bibles in hotel rooms, to include government owned hotels; and tables with dozens of Bibles with a “free, take one” sign at jails, homeless shelters, 12 Step meeting places, etc.

If someone wants a religious text with them at the VA, they should be more than welcome to bring their own personal text with them, or borrow one from the Chaplain, who hopefully, has books of multiple faiths and ideologies available to serve the Diversity of the veterans.

One should not be placed publically just lying around sending an endorsement message.

A Christian Bible does NOT reflect all veterans. NOT all veterans are Christian. NOT all MIA/POW are Christians. Certainly NOT all veterans by any means are comfortable with the VA being a vessel to publically endorse Christianity.

Our Nation was NOT “founded one Nation under God”, that came about from 1950’s McArthyism.

The VA MUST set a policy to ensure the VA is a HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, and NOT a Christian conversion center. The VA MUST provide training to ALL Clinic Directors on what is/is not acceptable in accordance with the Constitution and the intent of the Seperation of Church and State clauses and case law; and the VA MUST hold Directors responsible when they cross the line.

No matter how this gets spun, a Christian New Testament CANNOT be the representation of all faiths within a Government entity that provides healthcare for veterans of hundreds of varying religions or ideologies.

It matters not if the VA erects a display, or allows volunteers to do so. Rules and policies to govern them must be in place.

Sir, I look to YOU for accountability and action, as this is specifically your mandate to handle religious diversity and training within the VA healthcare system.

This particular image depicted is in Youngstown, OH. I was threatened with arreat for taking the photo, which CFR- 2011 Title 38 allows. I was also told to “leave ‘God’s’ table alone”. Yet the fact remains, this public display with a New Testament is in many other VA lobbies nation wide.

The fact that the Navy, originator of this display setup document, and the VA, are without a shred of doubt promoting, endorsing and favoring Christianity is wholly unethical and immoral to the core.

Has America truely become a theocracy by sanctioning and sponsoring this as the “official” religion of the Unites States Navy and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs???

It is small, but immensely significant steps like this, that if allowed left unchecked, lead to the majority ostracizing and silencing the opposing minority.

In regards to biblical displays in the Ohio (and other State’s) Veterans Affairs, we must look at the larger picture.

Someone, somewhere, had this great idea.

“What if we put a New Testament Bible on the table to represent all of the faiths and ideologies for all of the MIA/POW War veterans?”

That person reasonably could be argued was a Christian of some denomination. Arguably, no one else would have reasonably jumped to the conclusion that a Christian New Testament Bible was representative of all faiths.

Then, that person’s Superior who had the decision-making Authority thought “Wow, what a great idea! We can honor the veterans and show how we support them Faithfully by having that New Testament Bible on the table. Good job!”.

That person too, could reasonably be argued to have been a Christian of some denomination as well.

Let US reasonably doubt a Hindu, Mormon, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, Etc., would have come up with the epiphany to have a Christian New Testament Bible representative of all faiths on a Veterans Memorial display, publicly placed, of all places in the Department of Veterans Affairs lobbies.

Next, we should consider that it is NOT contested, that a vital and core tenant for most all of the Christian denominations is to spread the gospel (which can simply be done by placement of a Bible) to all.

From this, we can reasonably conclude that for many Christans, there is a built-in alterior motive for having a Christian New Testament Bible on any public memorial display, even one on Governmental, supposedly neutral ground.

Given that the make up of the Country is 70% Christian based, of course many of the people see no issue with this- they were raised to believe this is just and proper and cannot conceive any other vision.

Here is where we get to the Slippery Slope.

America doesn’t use rule of majority to decide these Civil rights and liberty things; we use and adhere to the Constitution.

If incidents such as the Navy’s display instructions with its Christian promotion, and with religious prothlesizing being allowed in the VA, we are allowing the destruction of the Constitution.

That document stands for something, and going against it as I believe the Navy is, and as the VA is so far appearing to be, will lead to disaster.

The Constitution is the only thing that holds this country together with all of its races, creed’s, religions, sex, sexual orientation, color, disabilities, ages, etc.

If we did not have that precious Constitution, do you know where we’d be with a 70% religious majority?

We’d be a Theocracy, no better than many third-world countries whose religious minorities are ridiculed, oppressed, beaten, and killed for their beliefs.

MRFF has dozens of Ohio clients who are shamed, hurt, discriminated against and offended by this Bible issue here in Ohio.

However, they are terrified to speak out for fear of violence or retribution.

I too suffered from that when I first started to address this issue.

Read some of MRFFs comments boards, or the comment boards on the Akron Beacon Journals Face Book page.

It’s scary to see such venemous hate, anger and outright threats and intimidation.

It’s one thing for a Christian zealot to say “go to hell”, it’s another for one to tell you their going to hunt you and your family down and put you there.

I’m choosing to do the right thing and be the voice for those dozens of MRFF Ohio veterans.

I will be going after the Navy for its tragic and blatant disregard for the Constitutional and DoD violations of endorcing, favoring and promoting one faith above all others.

I hope that your Office sees the larger picture here, and gets on the right side of the Constitution, and on the right side of all the veterans around the Country who have no voice to oppose this indignity which has been systematically allowed thus far in our military installations and VA hospitals/clinics around the nation.

I look to YOU personally for an answer. Not a generic form email, not a automated reply, not a staffer email, or any dereliction of duty by pointing me elsewhere. You Sir ” own this”, and we eagerly await your reply.

Respectfully,

(Name Withheld)


 

From: (Name Withheld)
Date: March 31, 2016 at 7:43:37 PM MDT
To:[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>
Subject: Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF are right!

 As a Vietnam Vet who uses the VA in (City Withheld), I do not want religious displays in my government funded hospital.

Displaying it in my American Legion Post (withheld) is OK with me, though I think it is nonsense. But, the AL is a private organization.

Sincerely yours,

(Name Withheld)


From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: Bible in POW Display
Date: March 31, 2016 at 8:59:12 PM MDT
To: [email protected]” <[email protected]>
Reply-To: (Name Withheld)

Secretary McDonald,

I am a resident of Hudson, Ohio, and am a Veteran who receives my medical care at the Akron and Cleveland VA hospitals. I applaud the decision by the Akron VA to remove the bible that was prominently displayed on their POW/MIA table. I am dismayed at the Youngstown, Ohio clinic Facility Director’s decision to keep their bible on display.

I am Jewish. Veterans of myriad belief systems (and no religious belief) utilize that clinic. The VA serves ALL Veterans. The bible does not represent me or my service to the country and having it on display sends a divisive message to your patients. Personally, it makes me feel unwelcome. Please do the right thing and order the removal of that bible. 

Respectfully,

(Name Withheld)


From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: Desecrated ancestors
Date: March 31, 2016 at 10:10:06 PM MDT
To: [email protected]

Dear Mr. McDonald,

Many American ancestors escaped persecution by the European Catholic and Anglican religious monopolies so they could worship their way, in peace.

Because you have become one of many who want to force a Christian monopoly over all others, you are desecrating the history and memory of those ancestors.

Learn the reason the Constitution insists on the separation of Church and State. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom to persecute or force one religion over all others.

Keep religion off the table, or include them all.

Sincerely,

(Name Withheld)


From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: POW/MIA Display of Bible and Bible Verse at Akron, Ohio VA Clinic
Date: March 31, 2016 at 10:55:31 PM MDT
To: [email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I am sending you this short email regarding the acrimonious exchanges between the American Family Foundation (AFA) and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) over the removal of the Bible or just the Christian New Testament from POW/MIA “missing man” memorial displays in VA clinics and hospitals. The latest incident has been in a clinic in Akron, OH.

The founder and president of the MRFF, Mr. Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq. contacted the director of the Akron clinic and requested, on behalf of the Foundation’s clients (a 90+% majority of whom are Christians) that the Christian-only religious material be removed because agencies of the government (including the military) may not show favoritism to one religion above all others. The other choice would have been to include symbols and sacred writings from all religions equally, which the AFA would also have found to be unacceptable.

The MRFF has published the correspondence between Mr. Weinstein and the clinic director. It appears to indicate that the clinic director is in agreement with Mr. Weinstein about the inappropriate appearance and Constitutional legality of a Christian-only memorial and has removed the sacred writings. In reply, the AFA has begun a petition campaign aimed at you charging all manner of lies and half-truths about Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF.

I ask you, please, Mr. Secretary, investigate these acrimonious accusations yourself before being drawn unwilling into the position of mediator.

I am a practicing Christian and a supporter of the MRFF, but two things are more important to me than those: following the Constitution of the United States of America and the truth in all matters.

Very Respectfully Yours,

(Name Withheld)


From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: No special religion at VA clinics (re MRFF)
Date: April 1, 2016 at 5:59:36 AM MDT
To: [email protected]

Patients of VA clinics and their families have by and large already formed their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Bibles, Korans, Torahs, Bhagavad Gitas, etc. can be available on request to those patients or families who want them; no problem, just let the Vets know they are there. But why would an agency representing the US Govt (and indirectly me) want to create dissension by singling out one interpretation of one religion? I love the US, worked as a civilian scientist for the Navy for 20 years, and support a strong, right-sized, thoughtfully-deployed military. I’d like to think that my views are mainstream. My grandfather served in two World Wars and I have half a dozen near-relatives who served during WW 2 or peacetime. I am proud of them all.

Thank you for your work with vets.


From: (Name Withheld)
Subject: Proselytizing Taking Place at VA Clinics
Date: April 1, 2016 at 7:35:14 AM MDT
To: [email protected]
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Dear Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. MacDonald:

I am an honorably discharged member of the Air Force and a supporter of

Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

I am also an atheist and that brings me to my point to ask that you stop

all proselytizing taking place at VA clinics.

My father was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard and served in

perilous conditions and I know he was an atheist and believe he too

might add his voice to mine were he alive. My mother worked at the VA

Hospital in Knoxville Iowa and were she alive today I believe she would

add her voice to mine as I write this. She once mentioned a fact about

religion that you would be offended by if I wrote it here.

Rather than let that happen, I shall tell you now how much

proselytization offends me. Look, a one-on-one discussion is fine.

Sometimes both enjoy the fight per se. But when coercive or offensive

considerations enter it is not ok. Strong language – I know!

If I were at a VA facility and saw the blatant promotion of ancient myth

– your bible – I’d be on guard immediately.

I can’t demand any action of you – it is just a word I can’t use here

but I can ask you earnestly to cease and desist any and all

proselytizing efforts at federal government facilities under your charge.

Sincerely,

(Name Withheld)


From: (Name Withheld)
Date: April 1, 2016 at 3:34:34 PM MDT
To: [email protected]
Subject: continued proselytizing at VA clinics!

Sir,

I apparently need to remind the VA that not all American veterans are  christian nor do they want to become christian.  A VA clinic is not the proper place to pander one’s mythology upon others.

I strongly support the MRFF efforts to stop this madness at the Akron facility and all other VA facilities and let the VA equally serve ALL American veterans.

Thank You

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

18 Comments

  1. Anita Tunstall

    Dear Secretary McDonald,
    I am becoming agitated trying to get someone to tell me why my husband is being scheduled for the same appointments over and over again. This week they may have us go to Columbus, Georgia; the next two weeks may be in Tallahassee. We have even had three appointments in one day. I can’t see my doctors because I am too busy trying to take care of him.

    We can never get anyone to explain these repetitive appointments. Who do we contact that will have the answers? One group will refer us to another group, and it keeps going this way. We still do not have answers.

  2. Daniel

    I notices that the email address given for Mr. McDonald does not always work. I sent him a message an it came back “mailer-demand” meaning address now working or accepting. Does anyone else know of any other way to reach him?

  3. Danielgoff

    I need help getting a new DoD id card. I was given the wrong card when i was discharged in 2001, now i am 90% disabled and 100% unemployable and i need a new card. I applied by mail in Guam, I never heard from them sense March 2016. the local RAO is who helped me then. But now seems to not want to entertain me.

    What do i do?

  4. ARNOLD CABRAL

    To Robert McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs can you as a Veteran can you please asked all Representatives and Senators passed a Veteran Law hired a least one at any Veteran Medical Center a Dentist that knows how to put in G4 Implants because their is not one Veteran Medical Center have a Dentist that put in G4 Implants THANKS for your Service plus Stay Healthy and your Family plus your Staff

  5. Robert woods

    The VA is corrupt. Helping Veterans is null. As the leader of the VA you are terrible. Wish we could afford a trip to Disney World and have a chance to stand in line.

  6. Tim LaPlant

    [email protected] is his email and his cell phone number is (text him don’t call him) (513) 509-8454

    Either he or someone else should get back to you

  7. Tim LaPlant

    Anita, call your local patient advocate at the VA and they should help you.

    Daniel, the one I attached above works. Bob is a great guy and does help, unfortunately a lot of people below him do not.

    Arnold, call your local patient advocate and see if they can help you with a dentist that can help you. I am not sure if you are eligible for a Choice Card and not sure if a Choice Card can be used for a dentist. Ask the advocate. If the choice card does work then you can go outside the VA and they will pay for it. Also ask them if they cannot get you an appointment within 30 days can you go to the outside and they pay for it.

    Danielgoff, Are you on eBenefits or my HeatlheVet to see if you can signup through those sights? I am trying to remember, but I think we went to the National Guard facility to get the DoD card.

    Robert, I believe the doctors are doing a great job, Comp & Pen on the other had are evil and do everything they can to lose your file or deny you.

  8. Arnold Cabral

    HOPEFULLY ROBERT MCDONALD READS OR SOME KNOWS HIM CAN TELL TRY TO CONVINCE ALL REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS PASSED A VETERAN HEALTHCARE LAW HIRED AT LEAST ONE AT ANY VETERAN MEDICAL CENTER A COSMETIC DENTISTRY DENTIST THAT KNOWS HOW TO PUT IN G4 IMPLANTS BECAUSE THEIR IS NOT ONE VETERAN MEDICAL CENTER HAVE A COSMETIC DENTISTRY DENTIST…as Veteran i can do it alone THANKS Semper Fi.

  9. Steve White

    I have been trying to switch my PCP for months. I was told to fill out the form. I did. After several weeks I checked on what was going on. I was told to fill out the form. I did. Same results. Form three and later form four was hand delivered to the clinic. Today I got a letter in the mail with form #5. Since I’m lucky to see my PCP every 8 mo. and with this delay I’m needing meds. Looks like possibly a year or two this time. I’ve read about the plans the new sec. wants to implement Very impressive. Us Vietnam Vets will never live long enough to see them in full force but will be great for the new guys.

  10. Clara Dees

    do not take christ out of our military. if you dont believe in god thats your business our country was founded on christian beliefs and without the protection of our god all are in big trouble!

  11. Raquel Bilbraut

    Hi Ms. B, unfortunately, I can’t write you a letter for a benefits evaluation (this is considered a conflict of interest since I too work for the VA). For these types of situations, the VA encourages Veterans to bring their progress notes so other providers can see.

    These are the type of responses given when asking for an OPINION, it’s almost as if they know exactly how NOT to write the correct terminology just to make it more difficult for us to fight for Benefits WE SO RIGHTLY DESERVE! This is ridiculous making us run around struggling to apply for benefits when all the proper documents are available. C&P need to fully read records and NOT DO SIMPLE WORD SEARCH and annotate the first thing they see!

  12. Good Morning,
    I writing with disappointment on the wait time to receive my Retro-Pay for Disability. I retired from the U.S. Army on 01 Jun 2015 and file all my paperwork and actually receive my benefit fairly fast. The issue is that their was some addition that I needed to provide and I had provided it in September 2015. I was first told that I should receive my Retro-Pay by December 2015. VA receive the Audit from DFAS in October 2015 and again in April 2016. I was last told that its up in VA Finance Office and they are waiting for them to review it and then I will receive my Retro Pay. Well, it been up in the VA Finance Office since April 2016 and everytime I call they just tell me the same thing “Claims are process in the order it receive” So I been waiting for my Retro-Pay since AUGUST 2015. This is really disappointed on the process to receive my Retro-Pay. Other folks that I spoke to file way after me and they receive both their regular pay and also already receive their Retro-Pay. Its just seen like VA pick and chose according to what rank you retire at. I’m pretty sure a senior officer wouldn’t wait this long to receive Retro-Pay. This VA benefit process is broken and need to be fix so not only me but other veterans like me don’t have to wait this long.
    If their anything that you can do so I can receive my Retro-Pay As Soon As Possible, it would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want it to be a 2 -5 years until I receive my Retro-Pay.

    Thanks

    Dan

  13. Not being a veteran myself, but with total respect and admiration for those who serve and have served, We are a couple in our late fifties. It is unfortunate our VA took back a home in foreclose, though we are in a bid for a property in Nisqually Washington. There are 15 other bidders.

    We are the only bidders looking for a place to occupy. The others want a place to fix up and make money. For us, it’s a matter of being in need for a place to live where we are not obliged to pay for someone’s livelihood. Already ruined by the economy issues of 2008 to now, finding work is nearly impossible. The HUD takes bidders by owner occupied first. Then they go to contractors. Will this be smoking gun of federal departments that do not process their business in the same fashion?

    If that is the case, those of us who are near the line of destitution, are left with buying something not fit to live in. There would be nothing like our Government leaving us with paying for squalor.

  14. Terrance Cleveland

    Mr Mc Donald something is going wrong with the veterans chapter 31 program if you have the time please look into this situation if cuts are being made to veterans programs veterans should be told and not be givien the run around by their va reps

  15. Danny Carl Halverson

    About two weeks ago I called American Lake Health Care Facility near Tacoma, Washington to schedule a routine dental cleaning. I was informed that they do not have a hygienist on staff and told me that I would be able to get my cleaning elsewhere. On October 31, 2017 I got a phone call from the department that approves that service, however, I wasn’t able to get to the phone before it quit ringing. I called right back and left a message – no response. On November 2, I called again – no response. On November 3, I called again – no response. What is the since of leaving a message if no one calls you back. What is the since of having a department if no one helps you. American Lake is the worse V.A. Healthcare facility I have ever been to. I’ve had more problems at this facility than all other facilities put together.

  16. GARY LEE

    THE VETS CHOICE, HEALTH NET IS INCAPABLE OF DOING VERY SIMPLE TASKS, I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 3 TO 4 WEEKS FOR A VERIFICATION NO. FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT THAT I PROVIDED NAME, PH. NO. ADDRESS AND WHAT EVER OTHER HOOPS THERE WAS TO JUMP THROUGH. THE LAST TIME I WAITED 9 MONTHS, YEP THATS RIGHT 9 MONTHS, IS THIS GOING TO BE ANOTHER TRIP. IT IS A TOTAL JOKE, I TOOK MY SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY I LOVE USA VERY SERIOUS AND YOU GUYS NEED TO GET ANOTHER JOB, TRY A CAR WASH MAYBE. GARY LEE USN 9340

  17. Stephen Francis Wisecup

    I would surely like to know when I was in the Dayton VAMC after having hernia surgery

  18. Josephine Zahn

    I just now tried to email the Sec of VA, this is what I received in reply!!!!

    Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:

    [email protected] ([email protected])
    The e-mail address you entered couldn’t be found. Please check the recipient’s e-mail address and try to resend the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*