Todd Starnes reports for FoxNews, Dec. 25, 2013, that fourth-grader Gracie Brown was among the boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., who had spent most of last Friday making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas.
Little Gracie drew an American flag on her card, together with the words “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.”
Gracie was proud of her card. She told MyFoxDFW.com that she had hoped it would make the day of a sick veteran at the hospital “because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with. I’d like them to know they’ve not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you.”
But the bedridden veterans at the VA hospital will never get to see Gracie’s card. Nor will they see the cards made by 51 other students. That’s because the Christmas cards violate VA policy.
On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the academy who’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations, called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem.
Chapman said, “I told him [an official at the VA hospital] my students made cards, we’d like to bring them down for the veterans. And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'”
A VA official quoted the policy which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook:
“In order to be respectful of our veterans’ religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.”
Andrea Brown, Gracie’s mom, was dumbfounded by the news. She told MyFoxDFW.com, “This wasn’t the country I grew up in, when you couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas,’ you couldn’t say ‘God bless you’ or reference any scripture.” She said the boys and girls were heartbroken that the military personnel would not be able to receive their cards: “They couldn’t believe that these people they wanted to honor weren’t going to get the chance to see what they had done.”
Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA. Does the VA have no shame? Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting. Do the Grinches in the administration of the VA really believe our bravest warriors need protection from the heartfelt well wishes of small children saying Merry Christmas?”
- “U.S. Air Force Academy makes God optional,” Oct. 30, 2013.
- “U.S. Army tells soldiers Christians and Tea Party are terrorists,” Oct. 24, 2013.
- “U.S. military priests threatened with arrest for celebrating Mass voluntarily without pay,” Oct. 5, 2013.
- “Obama military invites drag queens to perform on air base,” Aug. 19, 2013.
- “Military Censors Christian Chaplain,” July 26, 2013.
- “Obama military really is persecuting Christians,” July 15, 2013.
- “Pentagon may court martial soldiers for sharing their Christian faith,” May 1, 2013.
- “Psychiatrist confirms Obama’s plan to confiscate guns from military vets,” April 15, 2013.
- “President Lucifer’s new terrorist list,” (US military has Christians as No. 1 terrorist threat), April 5, 2013.
H/t Don Hank