GOP lawmakers question missing Bibles at VA clinics

GOP lawmakers question missing Bibles at VA clinics
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A group of lawmakers are expressing concern about Bibles that they say were removed from display at Veterans Affairs clinics.

The leaders of the Congressional Prayer Caucus — Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Outdated global postal system hurts US manufacturers Tech mobilizes to boost election security MORE (R-Okla.) and Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (R-Va.) — are demanding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) replace Bibles they say were removed from displays at three clinics around the country.

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“We request an explanation as to why the Bibles were removed from the three VA facilities,” Lankford, Forbes, and dozens of other lawmakers wrote Thursday in a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

The Bibles were part of the Missing Man Table displays, which honor members of the military who are missing in action. “One of the objects on the table is a Bible, meant to 'represent the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God,” they wrote.

According to the lawmakers, VA staffers removed the Bibles from Missing Man Table displays in Ohio and Texas following complaints from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

The lawmakers argued the Bibles should be replaced because they say they do not violate the constitution principle of the separation of church and state.

"The Establishment Clause does not require that you remove Bibles from the Missing Man Table displays,” the lawmakers wrote. "The mere presence of a Bible coerces no one."

"The Establishment Clause exists to ensure that the government cannot affirmatively impose or elevate on religion over another,” they added. "However, it does not prohibit the government from referencing religion altogether, nor does it require the government to scrub all references of religion from the public square."