The Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prohibited veterans from hearing Christmas carols or receiving gifts wrapped in Christmas-themed wrapping paper, prompting outrage from a congressional committee.
VA officials in Iowa City, Iowa told representatives of the American Legion that they could not hand out gifts to veterans wrapped in wrapping paper that featured the term “Merry Christmas.”
Additionally, the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia — which treats veterans — banned Christmas carolers from singing Christmas songs with religious references in public areas.
The Dallas VA Medical Center blocked local schoolchildren from giving Christmas cards to veterans because some of the cards included the terms “Merry Christmas” and “God Bless You.” A similar incident occurred in Montgomery, Alabama, where the VA Medical Center blocked veterans from receiving gift bags that included the term “Merry Christmas.”
Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, expressed his outrage over these incidents in a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki provided to The Daily Caller.
“Because Christmas is a federal holiday and VA is a federal entity, VA patients, volunteers and veterans service organizations should be free to respectfully honor it without obstruction or censorship from VA. Unfortunately, it appears some VA officials seem to disagree with this concept,” Miller wrote.
“it is not up to the department to decide whether or not it’s appropriate for certain government entities, such as VA, to allow the recognition of Christmas. That decision was made in the 1800s when our government formally declared Christmas a federal holiday,” Miller wrote.
“Even though we are a nation of many faiths, our government’s recognition of Christmas – a religious holiday by nature – is not devoid of religious references,” Miller added.
Miler asked VA to provide to his committee a plan to correct these kinds of problems by January 20 at the latest.