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Organization claims success in getting Bible removed from VA’s POW/MIA table

In World
January 20, 2024

Jan. 20—WILKES-BARRE — Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq., founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), on Friday claimed “truly a banner day” because his organization was successful in having a Bible removed from the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center’s POW/MIA “missing man” table.

“So, not only was the Bible removed in under 24 hours, it was very significantly removed ‘on the advice of VA’s Office of General Counsel,’ making this … truly a banner day for RRF,” Weinstein said on the MRFF website.

The Albuquerque, N.M.-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2005 by Mikey Weinstein, a former Air Force officer and attorney.

The VA Medical Center, meanwhile, is operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a federal government agency.

On the MRFF website it states:

“In August of last year, MRFF had a win on behalf of our veteran clients at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center in Pennsylvania, getting a Gideon’s New Testament removed from the facility’s POW/MIA, or ‘missing man,’ table.

“But recently, somebody again put a Bible on the table — this time a Bible of enormous proportion, and MRFF again advocated on behalf of our 14 veteran clients, demanding yesterday that this new Bible be removed.”

Weinstein goes on to state that the Medical Center’s director, Russell E. Lloyd, sent “a vague email” to Weinstein, saying only: “This has been addressed.”

Weinstein stated he responded to “the vagueness” of that statement:

“This has been addressed.”??!! Excuse me, but what does that mean, sir? This is a fair, rational and reasonable question from MRFF on behalf of our 14 military veteran clients who receive their medical care under your direction.”

Weinstein said Director Lloyd then responded:

“On the advice of VA’s Office of General Counsel, the Bible has been removed and will not be replaced.”

Weinstein, said VA Director Lloyd was given “precise legal advice” from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of General Counsel at the VA headquarters in Washington D.C.

“This now creates a fantastic and impactful legal precedent which MRFF can and certainly will use for its aggrieved client base when we inevitably fight this exact same battle again throughout the VA, and even to a non-trivial extent with other federal agencies,” Weinstein wrote. “The same goes for our MRFF clients in all of the 17 national security agencies. This is truly a banner day!”

Lloyd provided this statement to the Times Leader:

“Our number one priority is providing the high-quality care that Veterans deserve — and that means ensuring that our facility is a fully-inclusive, welcoming environment for every Veteran who visits for their care. After learning of concerns, we made the decision to update the Missing Man Table Display.”

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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