For Immediate Release: 2.24.22
Contact: Lacey McNiel, email@example.com
Lawsuit Against Inclusion of Bible on POW/MIA Remembrance Table at New Hampshire VA Hospital Dismissed
First Liberty Institute represents veterans organization that owns and maintains display at Manchester, New Hampshire VA Medical Center
Concord, NH—A federal court yesterday dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MVAMC). The lawsuit was brought against the MVAMC because it allowed the Northeast POW/MIA Network, a private organization and First Liberty Institute client, to display a POW/MIA Remembrance Table that includes a Bible.
“The Bible stays and our veterans win,” said Michael Berry, Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty Institute. “We are pleased with the dismissal of this lawsuit. Public officials across the nation must ignore the empty threats of anti-religion organizations using fear and intimidation to purge religious symbols from the public square. First Liberty is honored to stand with the Northeast POW/MIA Network in its tireless efforts to honor and remember our nation’s heroes. If anyone tries to threaten this POW/MIA Remembrance Table, they’re going to have to go through us.”
A local veteran, supported by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), filed the lawsuit in 2019. The lawsuit claimed that by allowing a private display to include a Bible at the medical center, the VA had violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on the “establishment of religion.” First Liberty, joined by attorneys with Nutter, McClennen & Fish LLP, and Orr & Reno, argued that because the display was owned and operated by a private organization, it was private speech, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.
In July 2019, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it updated and clarified its policies “permitting religious literature, symbols and displays at VA facilities to protect religious liberty for Veterans and families while ensuring inclusivity and nondiscrimination” after First Liberty sent a letter urging the VA to issue such a clarification.
The Bible included in the display at the MVAMC was donated by former U.S. Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Herman “Herk” Streitburger, of Bedford, NH, who was held captive in a German Prisoner of War camp during World War II.
About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is a non-profit public interest law firm and the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.
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