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(RNS) — The usual adversaries are at it again in the ongoing war over the place of the Bible and Christian faith in the U.S. armed forces. On behalf of 26 military families, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is battling with the Navy over a POW/MIA display at the naval hospital on Okinawa, Japan.
At issue: the placement of the Bible alongside the POW/MIA and American flags with a placard that says: “The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded one nation under God.” Since the Okinawa news hit the media, the MRFF says it has received complaints from 31 other U.S. military installations that have the Bible included in their “missing man” displays.
Bible - Statement - POW/MIA - Displays - Prohibition
Do the Bible and faith statement in the POW/MIA displays violate the constitutional prohibition against the government promoting a religion? Or are they a harmless nod to the fortitude and comfort many soldiers derive from their country’s majority religion?
You can argue it either way — and believe me, those caught up in this drama are doing just that. But for those intent on maintaining the Bible’s prominence in American culture, the POW/MIA displays are more symbolism and sideshow than anything of substance. There’s a much bigger problem in civilian life and Americans’ homes that ought to concern them:
Fact - Book - American - Home - Copies
The fact that even though “the Good Book” is ubiquitous, with the median American home containing three copies, it is seldom read, poorly understood and, to put it charitably, inconsistently followed.
It’s fitting that the Bibles on the POW/MIA tables are closed, used as symbols or sacred objects rather than a book meant to be read for truth, wisdom and inspiration. Because closed is how the Bibles in Americans’ homes generally remain.
Americans - Fond - Bible - So
“Americans Are Fond of the Bible, Don’t Actually Read It.” So says a...
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