Forbes Leads Members in Urging Navy to Keep Bibles in Lodging Facilities
Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) helped put together 25 Members of Congress in a bipartisan letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, urging that donated religious materials remain in the guest rooms at Navy Lodge facilities. Last week, it came to light that the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) had issued a memo for the removal of Bibles currently in Navy Lodge guest rooms after NEXCOM received a complaint. After significant pushback, however, the Navy announced that the decision was being reconsidered.
The letter acknowledges the Navy’s announcement that the Bibles will be replaced, pending review, and requests confirmation that the Bibles have in fact been replaced. The Members note, “The mere presence of a Bible or other religious text–texts which are typically placed out of sight in a nightstand drawer–coerces no one. The Establishment Clause does not require that you remove the Bibles from the guest rooms.”
“I am concerned that military officials have repeatedly capitulated to demands by organizations that seek to scrub the military of all references of faith,” stated Congressman Forbes. “I am glad that the Navy has indicated the Bibles will be returned. The Constitution prohibits the government from coercing its citizens in their religious beliefs; it does not require that all vestiges of faith be scrubbed from view.”
Congressman Forbes is the Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a bipartisan group of over 100 Members of Congress committed to defending America’s heritage of religious freedom. More information on his work protecting the religious liberties of our servicemembers is available, here.
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