August 29, 2019
MRFF Actions Exposes Trump/Pence Clear Contempt for the U.S. Constitution in Favor of Corrupt Christian Dominionist
On August 28, 2019, Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted:
(8/28/19, 5:32 PM)
The last Administration was removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols to be politically correct, but under President @realDonaldTrump, VA hospitals will NOT be religion-free zones. Message to the New Hampshire VA: the Bible STAYS! -@AmericanLegion
This clear demand for Christian supremacy over government operations at the New Hampshire, VA was soon re-tweeted, and supported, by President Donald Trump. This putrid display of Christian Dominionism by the Trump Administration is a direct result of MRFF’s numerous past successes on behalf of its clients standing up for their rights to be free from government sanctioned religious preferences and tests.
MRFF’s actions on behalf of 17 clients (predominantly Christian along with Jewish, Native American, Muslim) at the Veterans Administration Medical Clinic (VMAC) located in Manchester, NH began in January/2019. After being contacted by MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein about unconstitutional religious branding via placement of a Christian bible on the POW/MIA table in the front foyer of the Manchester, NH VMAC, the Director’s Acting Staff Assistant assured MRFF that:
“I appreciate the phone call this morning concerning our POW/MIA table in the front foyer. Please know that as a Marine, retired, and now a VA employee I hold this table and its significance close to my heart. 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.”
This constitutionally responsible reaction to our clients was very much in line with many other MRFF client victories against sectarian religious branding of POW/MIA memorial tables. However, the Manchester VAMC double crossed MRFF and our clients a month later when they returned the Christian bible to a more prominent location with a display case at the facility’s entrance. This bible was then moved again; this time being returned to the POW/MIA table and bolted down under a locked plexiglass case. On May 7, 2019, MRFF filed a Federal lawsuit through one of its veteran clients against the Manchester VAMC over the unconstitutional Christian bible display. The filing of this lawsuit was also marked with an airplane flyover with a banner stating: “VAMC – Honor all POW/MIA – Remove Bible”.
To further their treacherous and unconstitutional promotion of one religion over others, the VA ordered other religious texts that had been placed on the POW/MIA table to be removed. On May 16, 2019, Michael Cousineau of the New Hampshire Union Leader reported:
The Veterans Administration said it will remove items representing different religious faiths placed Thursday next to a Bible on a POW/MIA table at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. “We will not tolerate interference with and/or alteration of approved displays — such as this Northeast POW/MIA Network-sponsored POW/MIA table — and as a result these items will be removed,” Curt Cashour, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said in an email.
In response to MRFF exposing the Trump Administration’s naked political pandering to Christian domininists, MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein released the following statement:
Mike Pence is one of the most repulsive and repellent fundamentalist Christian supremacists and bullies on the scene today. As a full-fledged member of ’The Family’ religious cabal (see the recent Netflix documentary and author/Dartmouth professor Jeff Sharlet’s books on this fundamentalist Christian extremist organization), it is hardly surprising that he is lending his ugly bigotry and pervasive prejudice in support of keeping that Christian bible bolted down on that POW/MIA table at the Manchester, New Hampshire VA Medical Center.