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NOT Fake News: Claim that Trump Lifted Ban on Bibles and Christmas Trees in Veterans' Hospitals Is Mostly True

  • by: Ari Sen
  • (Sun, 12 Jan 2020 21:48:23 Z)

Did President Obama ban Bibles and Christmas trees in VA hospitals? Not exactly - There was a policy that regulated religious symbols, such as Bibles and Christmas trees, being placed in public places that was recently overhauled. But there was no outright "ban" under Obama on individuals possessing Bibles or other religious symbols or texts in VA facilities.

The claim resufaced in an article published by USA News on December 27, 2019, titled "Trump Lifted Obama's Ban on Bibles and Christmas Trees in Veterans' Hospitals" (archived here), which opened:

The ban was part of a directive to "protect religious liberty" for veterans and their families by ensuring so-called "inclusivity" and "nondiscrimination.

"These directives permitting religious literature, symbols, and displays at VA facilities have now been revised by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Following the revisions, Bibles will now be allowed in the facilities again and the right to enjoy festive celebrations, such as Christmas carol singing, has now been restored. The move aims to simplify and clarify the department's policies governing religious symbols, and spiritual and pastoral care. The rules have been interpreted inconsistently at various VA facilities in recent years, resulting in unfortunate incidents that interrupted certain Christian displays by banning Christmas carols and trees and removing all Bibles.

Trump admin officials have now updated the policies to actually protect the religious freedom of veterans and their families.

Screenshot of https://ushealthpharma.com/trump-lifted-obamas-ban-on-bibles-and-christmas-trees-in-veterans-hospitals/

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Trump Lifted Obama's Ban on Bibles and Christmas Trees in Veterans' Hospitals - USA News

by Sheri Urban One major move President Trump made that got little press before Christmas was his lifting of an Obama-era ban on religious symbols, such as Bibles and Christmas trees, from veterans' hospitals. The ban was part of a directive to "protect religious liberty" for veterans and their families by ensuring so-called "inclusivity" and ...

The story about Trump lifting "Obama's ban" dates to at least September 2, 2019, when the site Neon Nettle published it. There have been other versions as well.

In 2014, the VA issued a policy clarification amid several snafus relating to an outside group singing Christian carols, a POW-MIA Bible display being removed - and then put back - and claims by two U.S. Congressmen that Christmas gifts and cards were not distributed to patients. In 2015, another dispute arose over a Christmas tree, a controversy that ended when the tree was put up alongside other religious symbols.

The new VA policy, updated last summer, allows religious content to be displayed in some publicly accessible displays, patients to request religious literature and medical centers to accept donations of religious literature, cards and symbols.

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About the author:

Ari Sen.jpgArijit (Ari) Douglas Sen is a staff writer and fact-checker at Lead Stories. An investigative reporter and student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, he recently finished an internship in the NBC News investigative unit in Washington D.C. There, where he worked on stories about an unqualified State Department official, President Trump and his associates' dealings in Ukraine, Hunter Biden's potential conflicts of interest and Purdue Pharmaceutical's settlement with several states and municipalities.

Read more about or contact Ari Sen

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