MRFF Assists Clients in Ending Unconstitutional Sectarian Religious Territorial Marking at Another Federal Facility

Published On: March 24, 2022|Categories: Achievements|0 Comments|

March 23, 2022

MRFF was contacted by 10 VAMC employees and/or patient complainants at the Raymond G. Murphy (wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_G._Murphy) Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico regarding a blatantly sectarian religious display at the main medical building’s ‘Patriot Store’.  One of these clients described the preferential sectarian religious display in an email to MRFF on March 23, 2022:

As an employee of the VA I was distressed to see an Easter display in our Patriot Store that included a table full of Christian books and Bibles for children and adults. There was no corresponding display for Passover, nor have I ever seen any materials there for religions other than Christian. I respect all religions and strongly believe in religious freedom. This is one thing our veterans, not all of whom are Christian, fought for. For a government institution, especially a health care facility, to appear to promote a single religion is disrespectful to the many veterans of other faiths that we are committed to serve.

The 10 MRFF clients in this matter include 7 who identify themselves as avid practitioners of the Christian faith. MRFF Founder/President Mikey Weinstein, also a patient at the Murphy VAMC, made him the 11thMRFF client in this matter.

To avoid retribution as patients or employees, these MRFF’s clients reached out for help regarding the unconstitutionality of a sectarian Christian literature displayed prominently right next to an otherwise non-objectionable display of “secular-ish” holiday candy and Easter bunny cutouts et al.  The sectarian religious display in the ‘Patriot Store’ with Christian Bibles and related Christian reading materials was removed within 24 hours of MRFF’s initial request.  

Mikey provided the following details regarding the highly commendable and quick actions taken by the administrators of the Raymond G. Murphy VAMC: 

On behalf of MRFF’s courageous clients, I paid a personal visit to a key member of the senior leadership at this VAMC. I explained MRFF’s objections to this clearly sectarian Christian display. We chatted productively and quite amicably for about half an hour, and the senior staff member could NOT have been more hospitable, understanding, and professional. He promised me that he would meet with the Acting Director of the whole VAMC facility right away and make a case for immediate removal of that illicit display table with its Christian reading materials.

This senior leader was as good as his word. He kept in touch with me via several follow-up phone calls, the last of which confirmed that the display had been removed, not more than 24 hours after MRFF’s initial request!  Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that I’ve had nothing but spectacular medical care at this Albuquerque VAMC, and now I am able to also describe that same facility’s support of the separation of church and state as mandated in our country’s beautiful Constitution to be JUST as stellar!

Hats off to the senior leadership of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Raymond G. Murphy VAMC, and to the intrepidity of MRFF’s ten clients who either work right there or, like me, are grateful patients there!

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