VA Center in New Hampshire Sued Over Public Display of World War II POW’s Bible

This Monday, May 6, 2019 photo provided by the Manchester VA Medical Center shows a Bible as part of a memorial table display at the veterans hospital in Manchester, N.H. A U.S. Air Force veteran has sued the director of the hospital over the display of the Bible. (Kristin Pressly/Manchester VA Medical Center via AP)

A civil rights group filed suit Tuesday seeking the removal of a historic World War II Bible from a public display case at a veterans hospital, saying it violates the constitutional prohibition on government establishment of religion.

The Bible at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., is part of a POW/MIA display that honors those who have been imprisoned or never were found. The Bible sits atop a table with a plate, drinking glass, candle, flower, American flag and salt shaker. An empty chair also is part of the display.

The Bible is protected behind a locked plexiglass box. It was donated by Herman “Herk” Streitburger of Bedford, N.H., who was held in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps technical sergeant.

“We would all be outraged if the MVAMC only provided care to Christians, or denied care to non-believers, or those who worship their God in other ways,” the federal suit says. “The placement of a Christian Bible on this sacred table is just as objectionable.”

It was filed on behalf of James Chamberlain, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who receives treatment at the facility. He is a member of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Barrington, N.H.

“Despite his strong personal religious beliefs, he believes that the Christian Bible has no place being displayed on the POW/MIA table at the entrance way to the MVAMC, where he gets his care,” the suit says. “As a Christian, he respects and loves all his military brothers and sisters and does not want to be exclusionary by the placement of the Christian Bible.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs, though, says the Bible is staying.

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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Michael Foust