The U.S. Navy rejects the atheist group Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s demand to remove the Bible from POW/MIA display.
The traditional display at the “Missing Man” table honors prisoners of war and those missing in action. It was recently a hot topic of controversy. It is housed at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa in Nakagami District, Okinawa, Japan.
Earlier this month, the MRFF and two families in Okinawa sent a letter of complaint. The atheist group is complaining about the Bible in the Missing Man table display. They are claiming that the US Navy is violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They also stated that the inclusion of the Bible in the display is an attempt to convert Japanese citizens to Christianity.
After a thorough investigation of the issue, Rear Adm. Pearigen decided to keep the Bible on the POW/MIA display.
“You also expressed concern that the presence of the Bible, and the explanation in both English and Japanese that it represents ‘strength through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God,’ is improper,” Pearigen wrote in a letter. “I assure you that the Bible and the description of the POW/MIA remembrance table are consistent with DoD and DoN guidance and with the Constitution.”
Rear Adm. Pearigen further explained that the Bible on the display does not promote religion.
“The ceremony originated with the National League of Families and has been adopted by civic organizations and the DoD. When depicted with the other eight ceremonial items, the book is not the focal point of the table,” Pearigen added. “As one of nine symbolic references on the table, the purpose of the book and accompanying description is not to promote religion, but to commemorate the strength and resolve required of POWs and MIA personnel in the most difficult of times.”
Reference: The Christian Post