How does it feel to scam America?

On May 20, 2019, at 1:39 PM,  (name withheld) wrote:

 

Mikey Weinstein,
Just wanted you to know I have donated money to First Liberty Institute and others defending this lawsuit.  You could better serve the people of the US helping the homeless veterans, children, and families.  What a waste of resources.  How does it feel to scam America?
Enjoy you memorial day
(name withheld)

Response from USAF Veteran and MRFF Volunteer Sandra Bell
On Jun 5, 2019, at 7:38 AM, Sandra wrote:

Hi (name withheld),
This is my VA Medical Center, so I’m going to speak as such. Up until the end of last year, our POW/MIA display had secular symbolism only: salt shaker for tears, lemon slice for bitterness, candlelight for hope. One day, late last year, religious text suddenly appeared on the table. Offended, I complained to my patient advocate – I wasn’t the first one.
To address your email, you are entitled to donate money to whomever you want. You are also entitled to think our advocacy group shouldn’t exist.
The group you donated money to, The First Liberty Institute, along with Fox, is fomenting anger through smearing our group. For instance, a First Liberty Institute’s article titled, “Activists Want to Desecrate POW/MIA Remembrance Display by Removing WWII Veteran’s Bible”, states, “We are fighting to defend this very display because an outside group more than 2000 miles away filed a lawsuit…”
That is a lie. The truth is, the person who filed the lawsuit, is not 2000 miles away, they are right here, a patient of the Manchester VAMC, along with myself and the rest of the 16. The truth is, we want to uphold the separation of church and state, not just for veterans to be accurately represented, but because the U.S. Constitution demands this.
Let’s break this down to uncover the rational here:
  • Original table, never a bible – honorable
  • Table with newly added bible – debatable for the following reasons: 1. It goes against Constitutional law 2. It is disliked by some who do not subscribe to the religion 3. It is liked by some who think their religion needs to be represented 4. It is a POW artifact and so should be on it 5. It is not consistent with other POW/MIA tables
  • Original table, by removing this person’s bible – declared as desecrating?
I did not accept this POW’s gift. I do not want it in the lobby of the medical center where I entrust my government to provide my health care. It can go to a museum.
And you people are cruel to Veteran Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Do you know how much hate mail he has received by religous people like you? That we are merely “fuel for the fire of hell”? Or that we should leave America? We are the ones being bullied. We don’t care what you do with your beliefs, just don’t put it in our face, in a public space within the sphere of the government. It’s that basic. Mikey is standing up for the rights of all Americans and standing up for our Constitution, which you should care about. It is very simple: he received complaints from 16 Veterans that receive their medical care at the Manchester VAMC and what he did next was his job: he asked on behalf of them for it to be removed. Our local VA person was happy to oblige, and within just two hours, out of sheer consideration, he did just that: “I want you to know that you can inform your clients that the Manchester VAMC has the utmost respect and admiration for all Veterans, regardless of their beliefs. As such we are going to be removing the Bible from the display to better serve all Veterans.”
Unfortunately, the bible went back on the table after massive pressure from religious people. How is this justified? How is this moral? Win at all costs? It is one person’s personal bible. Clearly your group thinks that their worldview is the right one and because of this they demand representation. It isn’t about one person’s personal belonging; that would be ludicrous. It is obviously an agenda and one that is transparent at that. That’s the real scam – not abiding by basic decency and the consideration of others. This is when the lawsuit was filed. It didn’t have to be this way.
While the majority (80% plus) of MRFF’s volunteer and paid staff of over 450 are practicing Christians, as are approximately 95% of MRFF’s 64,000 plus active duty, reserve, national guard and veteran clients, I am not. To be told, as the description states, that the bible is a symbol of faith that is required for my strength, is offensive to me. The good thing for me, though, is that I have the Constitution on my side and always will. This is America, land of the free, home of the brave, and secular 100% of the way.
Kind regards,
Sandra Bell
USAF Veteran and MRFF Volunteer

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