Just one day after a Republican lawmaker denounced a policy memorandum from the commander of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center written by Chief of Staff C.W. Callahan which read: “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit,” the memo restricting religious expression was rescinded by the hospital.
Steve King (R-IA) told Fox News: “The President of the United States should address this and should excoriate the people who brought about this policy and the individual who brought it about should be dismissed from the United States Military.”
Later he went on to explain his interpretation of the memo: “That means you can’t bring in a Bible and read from it when you visit your son or your daughter, perhaps – or your wife or husband,” King said. “It means a priest that might be coming in to visit someone on their death bed couldn’t bring in the Eucharist, couldn’t offer Last Rites. This is the most outrageous affront.”
See Representative King explain the memo from the House floor:
Sandy Dean a public relations officer for Walter Reed says: “The instructions about the Bibles and reading material have been rescinded.” She went on to say: “It will be written to articulate our initial intention which was to respect religious and cultural practices of our patients.” And, she stated that the memo was: “in no way meant to prohibit family members from providing religious items to their loved ones at all.”
Representative King told Fox News:
“I don’t think there’s any excuse for it and there’s no talking it away; the very existence of this, whether it’s enforced or not, tells you what kind of a mindset is there.”
“The idea that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that have fought to defend our Constitution, and that includes our First Amendment rights to religious liberty –would be denied that religious liberty when they are lying in a hospital bed recovering from wounds incurred while defending that liberty is the most bitter and offensive type of an irony that I can think of,”
Commentary: Of course I agree with Representative King on this issue but there is a lesson we must expose here too. It’s evident that the First Amendment is under assault today especially with respect to our individual rights to religious expression. It will take many more voices like Steve King’s to reverse this trend both in Congress and in our citizenry.
We must start to understand that silence is the same as acceptance and if we want to maintain the Republic as it was intended; we MUST make our voices heard. Yes, Atheists may call us tyrants and say that we are forcing them to accept religion but we know that isn’t the truth and that’s what matters; but that shouldn’t prevent us from speaking up. Listen, if we don’t defend the Constitution now…who will?