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Bible removed from POW display at Wright-Patterson medical center

By BARRIE BARBER | Dayton Daily News, Ohio | Published: April 11, 2016

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Wright-Patterson Medical Center has removed a Bible from a POW/MIA display after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation lodged a complaint, according to a base spokesperson.

Mikey Weinstein, MRFF founder and president, said in a telephone interview today the organization was contacted by 31 people who objected to the Bible as part of the table display and 10 of those who complained were identified as Christians.

“They objected very clearly that having the Christian Bible on that table provided supremacy to one faith over all the other faiths and since these are government facilities that’s a direct violation of the no establishment clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution,” Weinstein said.

“The concept there is there’s no need to have a faith book there at all and many, many displays around the country there is no book of faith,” Weinstein added.

The Bible was removed from the display last week, according to Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover.

“After thoroughly assessing the situation, a determination was made by the installation commander to remove the Bible,” she said in an email Monday. “Mutual respect is an essential part of the Air Force culture and we must ensure we create an environment in which people can realize their highest potential regardless of one’s personal religious or other beliefs.”

The installation commander is Col. John M. Devillier, who was unavailable for comment.

After complaints from veterans, the MRFF objected to similar “POW/MIA Missing Man” with Bibles displayed at VA facilities in Akron and Youngstown, which were removed in recent weeks, Weinstein said.

Messages seeking comment were left Monday with VA officials.

©2016 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
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