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Walter Reed Medical Center has Banned Religious Items-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: A forwarded email that warns
that a recent change in U.S. Navy
policy at the Walter Reed Medical Center has resulted in a ban of religious items including Bibles. The email warns that
this ban could also
prohibit priests from offering the sacraments such as Communion and Last Rites
to wounded soldiers at the medical center.
The Truth: The policy was real but was in error
and it was rescinded. An apology and statement was posted on the
web site of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) saying:
We are in the process of
rewriting our policy and would like to offer the following statement:
Bibles and other
religious materials have always been and will remain available for
patient use at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The
visitation policy as written was incorrect and should have been more
thoroughly reviewed before its release. It has been rescinded. We
apologize for any confusion the policy may have caused.
Please know that at
admission, all patients are asked for their religious preference and a
chaplain associated with their preference visits them regularly to
provide spiritual services. In addition, their families may also bring
religious material and we will not refuse any religious group entrance.
multiple venues at WRMNMC for religious expression and worship. There is
daily Catholic Mass as well as Protestant, Hindu, and Muslim services.
Eucharist is also available at the bedside. There are weekly Torah
studies, multiple weekly Christian bible studies, as well as weekly
Qur'an study. Furthermore, chaplains coordinate spiritual needs for
those whose faith groups are not represented by staff chaplains (such as
Latter-Day Saints, Buddhist, and Christian Scientist).
National Military Medical Center remains committed to supporting the
religious preferences of all our patients and we will continue to ensure
their spiritual needs are met.
Attention to this story was initiated by the Washington D.C. based
Family Resource Council. It announced that it had obtained an
memo that said that "Navy officials had announced that 'no religious
items (including Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed
to be given away or used during a visit'" to wounded soldiers being
treated at Walter Reed Medical Center. This prompted a mass email
"Action Alert" campaign from the organization to encourage readers to
sign an online petition posted on the FRC website.
The internal memo was about visitation guidelines and came from the
Department of the Navy and was addressed to Walter Reed Medical Center
on September 14, 2011 according to the video transcript of a House Floor
speech by Rep. Steve King (R-IA).
YouTube Video of Rep. Steve King
discusses visitation policy at 4 1/2 minutes into the video.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
The Genesis of the Bible's Exodus from Troop Hospitals
The soldiers who wake up in Walter Reed Medical Center
are in Maryland--not communist China. But under the Navy's new rules,
they may not know the difference! After months of peeling away the
military's core values, Obama's army is on the move. And this time, it
has a high-value target: the Bible. In a memo obtained by FRC, Navy
officials have announced that "no religious items (including Bibles,
reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used
during a visit." The new orders are buried in a four-page document about
patient care, which an Army officer forwarded to us in disbelief.
Effective immediately, families, friends, and even pastors will have to
check their beliefs at the door to visit one of the largest military
hospitals in the United States .
Last night, after we circulated the memo to leaders on
the Hill, an outraged Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) took to the House floor
and blasted the policy. "Mr. Speaker, these military men and women who
are recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda have given their all for
America ... They've defended and taken an oath to the Constitution, and
here they are. The people that come to visit them can't bring a
religious artifact? They can't bring a Bible? ...A priest can't walk in
with the Eucharist and offer communion to a patient who might be on
their deathbed because it's prohibited in this memo from the Department
of the Navy?"
This is Obama's military, where homosexuality is
celebrated and Christianity is censored; where witches are financed and
crosses are scorned; where bestiality is embraced and Bibles are banned;
where same-sex "weddings" are encouraged but international charity is
not. After three years of ideological warfare, the administration's
intent is clear: to disarm the military of its biggest weapon. Faith.
Regardless of President Obama's agenda, there is absolutely nothing in
the Constitution that empowers the government to stop family members
from giving Bibles or crosses to their loved ones. And from a PR
standpoint, I'm not sure the best way to boost approval ratings is by
denying comfort to wounded warriors. Unfortunately for our troops, who
have endured so much turmoil under the Obama administration, this is
another blow. Hopefully, with the help of Congressman King and others,
it's only a temporary one.
***Breaking News*** As we were about to hit the send
button on this email, FRC received word that the military may have
rescinded its Bible ban. We will have more to report on Monday.
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