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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

VA hospital refuses to accept 'Merry Christmas' cards

Posted by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM
  • 61 Replies



Boys and girls at Grace Academy in Prosper, Tex., spent most of last Friday making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas.

Fourth-grader Gracie Brown was especially proud of her card, hoping it would “make their day 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,” Gracie told MyFoxDFW.com.

Gracie’s card read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.” It also included an American flag.

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 violated VA policy.

"It really didn't occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards," said Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the academy. She's married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans' organizations.

On Monday morning the boys and girls were planning on hand delivering the cards to the wounded veterans. Chapman called the hospital to make final arrangements and that’s when she learned there was a problem.

"I told him my students made cards, we'd like to bring them down for the veterans," Chapman told the television station. "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."

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said it was a new low “even for the Scrooges and Grinches at the VA.”

“Targeting the benevolent work of little children for censorship is disgusting,” Sasser told me. “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?”

Andrea Brown, Gracie’s mom, was dumbfounded by the news.

“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 told MyFoxDFW.com.

She told the television station the boys and girls were heartbroken that the military personnel would not be able to receive their cards.

"They couldn't believe the people that these people they wanted to honor weren't going to get the chance to see what they had done," she said.

The cards will not be thrown away -- they are being shipped to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio and to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana.

Sasser said at some point, “does the VA have no shame?”

“Mr. Potter from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ wouldn’t even ban little children from wishing our veterans Merry Christmas,” Sasser said.

source

by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:51 AM
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Replies (1-10):
fireangel5
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:54 AM
2 moms liked this

That is truly a shame. 

JTROX
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Banning mention of particular religious holidays is not being "respectful".   

greenie63
by Silver Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Maybe they should have checked in advance? Not the red highlighted portions especially the word  "Chaplaincy." The VA's response explains it well: 

"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."


lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:15 AM
1 mom liked this

Actually that quote was not the full quote:


"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.  After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation.  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:

"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do - our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

Quoting greenie63:

Maybe they should have checked in advance? Not the red highlighted portions especially the word  "Chaplaincy." The VA's response explains it well: 

"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."



stringtheory
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Thanks.

Quoting lizmarie1975:

Actually that quote was not the full quote:


"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.  After the review is
complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular
tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis
if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card
donation.
  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or
secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care
System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group
and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:


"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates
donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans
and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate
Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North
Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual
donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and
recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by
Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards
contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do -
our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis
if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our
Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be
called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom
to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal
agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our
duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all
faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure
we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and
seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

Quoting greenie63:

Maybe they should have checked in advance? Not the red highlighted portions especially the word  "Chaplaincy." The VA's response explains it well: 

"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."



stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:37 AM
That's quite a bit different than the version in th op. What a bunch of crap thhe first article is.

Quoting lizmarie1975:

Actually that quote was not the full quote:


"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.  After the review is
complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular
tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis
if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card
donation.
  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or
secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care
System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group
and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:


"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates
donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans
and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate
Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North
Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual
donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and
recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by
Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards
contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do -
our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis
if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our
Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be
called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom
to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal
agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our
duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all
faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure
we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and
seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

Quoting greenie63:

Maybe they should have checked in advance? Not the red highlighted portions especially the word  "Chaplaincy." The VA's response explains it well: 

"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."



lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM
1 mom liked this

It doesn't surprise me.

Quoting stacymomof2: That's quite a bit different than the version in th op. What a bunch of crap thhe first article is.

Quoting lizmarie1975:

Actually that quote was not the full quote:


"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.  After the review is
complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular
tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis
if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card
donation.
  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or
secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care
System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group
and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:


"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates
donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans
and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate
Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North
Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual
donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and
recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by
Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards
contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do -
our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis
if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our
Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be
called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom
to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal
agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our
duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all
faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure
we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and
seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

Quoting greenie63:

Maybe they should have checked in advance? Not the red highlighted portions especially the word  "Chaplaincy." The VA's response explains it well: 

"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."




pinkfairy0206
by on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:40 AM
1 mom liked this
Unbelievable! ! What the hell is this country coming too?
lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:46 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting pinkfairy0206: Unbelievable! ! What the hell is this country coming too?

"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.  After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation.  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:

"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do - our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

lizmarie1975
by Gold Member on Dec. 26, 2013 at 10:47 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting JTROX:

Banning mention of particular religious holidays is not being "respectful".   

"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.  After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation.  The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System.  We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."

However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:

"First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do - our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

Our Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal agency that provides health care to our Nation's Veterans, it is our duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and seek patient approval before distribution.


Read more: http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oau2Fnb4

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