I remember visiting a friend in the hospital last year and on my way out I decided to stop into the chapel and say a prayer for my friend and his family. I had difficulty finding it and then was shown to a “Meditation Room” by a kind old lady who clearly volunteered there.
I joked to the her that I didn’t need to meditate. I wanted to pray. She laughed and said, “You know the world today.” I laughed too. But I remember the room had nothing in it. It was essentially a closet. Fearful of offending anyone the hospital had opted to offer nothing.
This trend is growing larger.
An opinion piece from a retired colonel sums it up well:
The chaplain received a message from the VA that this beloved chapel was to become “neutralized.” Initially I could not grasp the full impact of the meaning behind this word, but rapidly became incensed that such an action was even being considered.
Now, what was that word supposed to mean? As the days went by, it became quite clear that “neutralization” meant the possibility of removing the crucifix from the main altar, removing pictures of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the possibility of painting over the walls, thereby eliminating the Biblical scriptures which have been so carefully painted on them.
Today you will no longer see the crucifix and the Holy Bible that were on the main altar, along with pictures of Jesus Christ. These spiritual objects are returned only when a Christian service is performed in the Chapel.
This inconceivable action was brought to the attention of the senior officials within the hospital as being completely unjustified and unwarranted. This neutralization action was directed by the Chaplain Service, VA National Chaplain Center in Virginia.
As a professing Christian, I cannot understand such an abrasive action having been thrust upon this chapel. The chapel is a sanctuary and is considered to be holy ground to the faithful and should not be tampered with, nor in any way have its dignity removed or changed. Christians do not conduct worship services in places such as synagogues and mosques.
Therefore, if other religions desire to worship in the hospital, then it should be incumbent upon the hospital authorities to make such rooms available and accessible to them too. To dilute, neutralize and withdraw these sacred artifacts from this holy Christian room is infringing upon some of the very fundamental and traditional symbols of our Christian heritage. Such actions cannot and should not be accepted.
The good man then has a piece of advice on how to remedy the situation:
The chapel was erected as a place of worship for Christians. Sure, some will say this condition is not so bad, be tolerant, let’s compromise our differences, let’s not be confrontational. Veterans must remember that no other exceptions were made before, and none should be made now. No one has been complaining about the chapel and how it was being used. Our collective position must continue to be very straightforward; i.e., our beliefs and our faith, although challenged, cannot be compromised, negotiated or allowed to become measured by any other set of standards.
Two actions should take place as soon as possible. First, restore the Christian artifacts to their original positions within the chapel whenever there are no worship services taking place. Secondly, a meditation room of suitable size should be made available and open to all other practicing religions for their use whenever they wish to pray or conduct their own worship services.
May your hearts be filled with the love that was shown to us by Jesus Christ, and may your prayers be a wake-up call to all Christians everywhere that we cannot just sit idly by and let major changes of this type take place. Let all peoples know that we remain strong in our faith, and are still willing to fight for the liberty that was granted to all of us by our forefathers.
This kind of thing should really worry us. Freedom of religion is now freedom from religion. They say we’re free to practice our religion but we are unable to manifest it in any public way for fear of offense. I remember the old lady saying, “you know the world today.” Sadly, I do. But it’s our world too. This neutralizing is just another term for disappearing. Make no mistake.
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