Christmas in veteran hospitals has been an issue for a couple of years now. From Georgia to Arizona VA hospitals have been in the news for banning Christmas carols performed by visiting high school choirs and in some cases for refusing the use of a Christmas tree in the facility because they viewed it as a religious symbol. Now the VA is working in advance of the holidays to skip the controversy this year by outlining the rules for Christmas in VA hospitals.
The new rules allow for Christmas in designated areas and local VA officials are instructed to remain neutral regarding what is presented there.
“No one should try to water down Christmas for our veterans just because they object to any religious references or items. I am most grateful that the VA has clarified their policy prior to the upcoming holidays,” Chaplain Ron Crews, a retired Army Reserve colonel, said Sept. 21.
“This should make clear that churches may sing Christmas carols and distribute Christmas cards at VA hospitals,” Chaplain Crews continued. “The guidelines state that hospital administrators may allow this and provide reasonable guidance as to where displays may be set up and where and how long a church choir may sing.”
At play here, once again, is a misguided interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which forbids a state sponsored religion. Past local officials viewed any type of Christmas singing, displays or decorations as a violation of that clause.
Of course, it is a gross exaggeration. No way does a Christmas tree establish a religion. And no way does the VA represent Congress nor the ability to pass a law “establishing” a religion.
The VA incidents are nothing more than yet another assault on Religious Freedom. The goal of progressives is to write religion completely out of the public dialogue by banning it altogether. By extension, they “establish” a “state religion” of atheism.
Of course, there will be those who call that an extreme view. But forcing belief is forcing belief — even when they DON’T use a tree to do it.
The struggle continues.