Fact Check: Obama Administration Orders Religious Symbols 'Covered' in VA Chapel

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Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library, a spokesman and cohost of Kennedy Classics.

I try to make it a practice to vet the circulating-emails I receive before I forward them on. I think one of the best sources to vet email rumors is truthorfiction.com. They seem to lack a political bias one way or another, and they are discerning in terms of religious rumors. They don't throw the baby out with the bathwater---particularly the baby in the manger.

The other day I received an email that I thought worth checking out. It claimed that in a chapel in a VA hospital, administrators had covered up Christian symbols because of a federal order to do so - in the chapel.

But I checked this out with truthorfiction.com, and there it was labeled as "Truth!"

The rumor-clearinghouse notes of the VA hospital in Iron Mountain, Michigan: "The hospital was told that Christian symbols, statues and religious items inside the chapel were no longer permitted. This according to a June 3, 2014, article by Christian Today."

Truthorfiction.com went on to observe, "In order to comply with the regulation statues, crucifix and an altar 'were encircled with a curtain at the Iron Mountain chapel after an inspection by the National Chaplain Center discovered the unauthorized items.'"

The policy went into effect in 2008, and under the Obama Administration since 2009, things have only gotten worse.

I remember when Obama spoke at Georgetown one time, and he demanded that they cover over "IHS" in the background in that Catholic building.

I'll bet 90% of Christians don't even know what IHS stands for. I had to take New Testament Greek to find out myself. "HIS" are the first three letters in the Greek language of Jesus: Iota, Eta, and Sigma. The English equivalent would be "J-E-S." It simply means Jesus.

It would appear that some in our government today seem to follow the ABC principle---Anything But Christ. Like Dracula, they recoil at the sight of the cross.

America's founders gave us freedom of religion. Liberals today like to limit that liberty to "freedom of worship." Yet apparently at services at the VA chapels, even the freedom to truly worship has been truncated.

To what God are they allowed to pray? "To Whom It May Concern"? What an insult to the Christian veterans of whatever stripe. No one is forcing anyone to bow down to that cross in the chapel or to worship the God of the cross.

How far we have fallen as a nation. When he was in Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington insisted on hiring military chaplains systematically. Here were paid Christian clergymen to pray and serve the troops in an explicitly Christian way.

But leftists today take "the separation of church and state" to ridiculous lengths. They often do this in the name of Thomas Jefferson.

A letter written January 1, 1802 by Thomas Jefferson is the source of the phrase "a wall of separation between Church and State." He wrote this to the Danbury Baptists, who cheered him on as president and as a champion of religious freedom.

They closed their letter, "And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator."

Jefferson's obscure letter of reply changed history because in 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court took it as the Rosetta Stone of the First Amendment. No longer was that first right in our Bill of Rights understood to mean, "In these United States, there would be no national denomination" (which is what it actually intended).

Now, instead, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…" meant that a strict wall separating church and state was to be built.

Ironically, if the liberals were right, Jefferson violated the separation of church and state in the very letter that gave us the separation of church and state, since he closes his reply with this: "I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem." Prayer? To God? By a president?

We seem to have a case of national amnesia today. And that can be seen by what apparently is not seen in some of our VA hospital chapels of late.

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer. He has also written or co-written 23 books, including The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation and (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? His views are his own. www.jerrynewcombe.com