“Holy cow!” I thought as I read headlines over Christmas about VA’s prohibition against the use of “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless You” in certain cards to veterans.
In fact, I’d say my reaction and the reaction of other veterans to whoever made up that policy was more like that Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation after getting his Jello-of-the-Month Club:
“I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”
The following is why VA’s block of Christmas cards is more revolting than merely infringing on the Constitution.
Dallas VA hospital goes against Christmas and God
PROSPER, TX – Veterans Affairs in the state of Texas claims VA policy prohibits giving traditional Christmas cards, written by school children, to veterans at the facility.
Teacher Susan Chapman attempted to deliver traditional Christmas cards created by her students to veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas. Instead of allowing delivery, VA officials cited official policy prohibiting certain language in cards.
The offensive language being, “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless You.”
Susan Chapman commented, “It is so sad that the VA is sending a message to our children that after all the veterans have done to fight for freedom across the world, the children have no freedom to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God Bless You’ to these honorable men and women.”
There are some issues with this position. Not only does it contradict the Constitution, you know, the document all those veterans fought to protect, but the situation is offensive because of the policy’s hypocrisy and the lacking in media outcry.
The federal government is supposed to represent the wishes of the American public that forms the government and gives it the power it is currently misusing. Perhaps we need to flush all those officials who are rifting against the Constitution, once and for all.
Here is why I’m pissed.
Top three reasons VA Policy is ridiculous
First, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution prohibits what is called “view point discrimination,” which includes religious viewpoints. By banning certain language like “Christmas” and “God Bless You,” without proper justification, the policy unfairly targets religion.
According to Liberty Institute:
These events are particularly troubling considering the September 22, 2011 consent decree signed by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Hughes in Rainey v. U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, No. 4:11-cv-01992 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 19, 2011). That consent decree ordered the Department “not to ban religious speech or words, such as ‘God’ and ‘Jesus,’ in condolence cards or similar documents given by non-VAVS volunteer[s].” It also ordered the Department “not to ban, regulate, or otherwise interfere with the giving of gifts, including gifts that contain a religious message or viewpoint.” The consent decree remains in full force and effect until the year 2026.
Second, the federal government’s hypocrisy is evident when you compare DoD’s historic endorsement of religion. While in the military, the DoD through its chaplaincy encourages religious expression for the troops to help them get through combat and boot camp. Faith helps create unity and bravery under fire, whether you are a Christian or Muslim or most other faiths.
I doubt the encouragement of faith is benevolent, since DoD and our war machine benefit from our faith through advancing the interests of those pushing for an internationalist government. While we fight wars that benefit corporations as taxpayers foot the bill, our troops are encouraged have faith to get through the hard times.
Apparently that same faith needs to check itself at the door when our military is injured and then require VA health care later in life.
It is likely that the policy and research records at DoD that cover indoctrination during basic training discuss the use of faith during that time.
Third, the media seems way more focused on comments about homosexuality and promiscuity than the rights of elementary students to write traditional Christmas cards to veterans.
The media feigns surprise when a Christian preacher states plainly that homosexuality is sin – a position that the Christian faith has maintained for, oh, 2,000 years. Meanwhile, the media totally ignores why VA’s position is so ironic – the faith the war machine endorsed on the field is prohibited when those same injured veterans go to a VA hospital for care.
VA’s position ignores the fact that most veterans were indoctrinated into Christianity and other faiths to further America’s opaque military ambitions, but when it comes to faith after service, VA takes a hard stand again ANY display of faith between the public and veterans.
Sad. Possibly perverse.
At the risk of insulting a few, VA has completely eliminated religious dialogue between veterans and the public that most endorse. There must be a better way to go about issues of different faiths than by restricting free speech.
Here is what I’m doing, and you can do it, too.
I am sending VA a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about the policy and how it is to be implemented. The policy seems very specific – no ‘Christmas’ and no ‘God’. I am curious if it also prohibits language such as “Happy Hanukkah!” or “Eid Mubarak!” or “Happy Festivus, for the Rest of Us!” or if it has singled out Christianity in some way.
I am hoping FOIA law is like Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation at the end, and that VA delivers the bad actor up to my doorstep, red bow and all.
My hunch is that underneath the hype, all we will find is a steaming pile of manure.
Update: 12/27/13 – Here is VA’s response to Christmas Card Ban.
Source: Liberty Institute