Washington Gadfly

GOP Congressman Blasts VA Clinic Bible Removal

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist

Republican Georgia Rep. [crscore]Doug Collins[/crscore] blasted a military religious liberties organization this week that he says coerced an Ohio VA clinic into removing a  Christian Bible and Scriptural quotations from its POW-MIA display table.

Saying in a little-noticed March 1  press release that he was “appalled” the clinic caved to yet another histrionic attack on Christians and a blatant attempt by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to subvert the constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms of armed forces personnel. “That [MRFF founder] Mikey Weinstein and his organization would call for a Bible to be removed from a POW display is not surprising, but it is another indication that this organization is blind to our country’s founding principles.”

In response, Weinstein, a registered Republican, called Collins an ignoramus  and “worthless sack of bigotry and prejudice.”

The Reagan White House and Air Force veteran said Collins “is to Constitutional freedom of religion knowledge as what dog crap on fine china is to a formal dining.”

In another subtle jibe, Weinstein accused Collins of “substantiating the putrescent mantra of fundamentalist Christian predators in our U.S. military which is: you either come to our dinner table or you will be on our dinner menu.”

This updated version of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” started last month when Weinstein said he received complaints from 11 clinic patients, 7 of them Christians. He quoted one retired military man asserting, “Military Installations and VA’s cannot reasonably accommodate every religion, so why even go there? Who gets to decide that only Christian POW/MIA’s are deserving of recognition and honors? Did I miss out on the memo that America was a theocracy and we are all supposed to be worshiping Jesus Christ?”

Weinstein then made similar points in cordial February 23 conversation with Akron Multiple Specialty Outpatient Clinic administrator Brian Reinhart. He argued that placing only a Christian bible on the table was an exclusionary promotion of one religion in violation of military regulations and the Constitution.

Reinhart yanked the Bible  two days later, plus a framed guide to the items on the table that included Scriptural quotations.

Says Weinstein: “We applaud Reinhart for showing backbone and standing up for the Constitution.”