Disgusting from Pres. Obama’s V.A.

The V.A.  What can one say?

From FNC:

VA hospital hides Jesus behind curtain
By Todd Starnes

I may have figured out why the Department of Veterans Affairs had such difficulty finding time to treat patients. It’s because it was working overtime to give its chapels a religiously neutral makeover.

But as VA officials in Iron Mountain, Mich., learned, one man’s renovation is another man’s desecration.

Some folks in Iron Mountain became infuriated earlier this month when they discovered that statues of Jesus and Mary, along with a cross and altar, were hidden behind a curtain in the chapel of the VA hospital there.

The chapel still has stained glass windows, though for how long is unclear. A VA hospital spokesman told me they are still trying to figure out what to do with the windows.

The decision to hide the religious icons came after the National Chaplain Center conducted an on-site inspection and determined the hospital’s chapel was not in compliance with government regulations.


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Fr. Z, your post brought to mind this old story:

    “Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”–symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there.”

  2. robtbrown says:

    I have a long history with the VA, having grown up on a VA center and now going there for medical care. This is the chapel, still standing.


    After VatII until the mid 70’s mass there was always a TLM. Then the Military Ordinariate forced Pappy Gallagher retire. Too bad. In addition to Latin liturgy, he gave good, very funny homilies.

    Protestant clergy like to work for the VA. Good salary and benefits–and don’t have to confuse people with Revelation.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    We have voted in a rabid atheist as a president, and he has brought his ideology and his mindset along with him to the White House, along with his paid minions. It has been clear that removing all aspects of Christianity is goal one for this president, and lower ranks have had their marching orders and are compliant. This atheism has slithered through all branches of our government. It is the takeover of a culture from the top down, and there are many who were hungry for it and welcome it, i.e., Hollywood and the media.
    In 2014, then in 2016, Americans have a “last chance” to remove these snakes and put a Christian in the White House. Maybe, maybe, we can save this country from the wide road it has been on since this man was put in office. I am hopeful God will hear our prayers for our increasingly atheistic country, which is seriously at odds with millions of faithful, American Christians.

  4. Mike says:

    Such desecrations are the logical consequence of our nation’s slippage into paganism. May God grant us the grace to mend our ways and to embrace and defend the true faith.

  5. Johnno says:

    Kathleen10 –
    “In 2014, then in 2016, Americans have a “last chance” to remove these snakes and put a Christian in the White House.”

    Americans need to wake up to the facts that the problem is far above any democratic solution to fix. In fact the democratic game is fixed to produce deliberate results like Obama. Every 4 years you’re participating in one of the finest illusions ever conceived.

  6. majuscule says:

    Well, some good news, but for how long I don’t know…

    A friend of mine goes to the local VA hospital and has received life saving treatment there. They have daily Mass in their chapel and he often schedules appointments so it’s convenient to attend (and a few times he’s gone there when he’s not had an appointment at the facility). I drove him to one of his appointments (when the don’t want the patient driving afterwards) and I was able to attend Mass while he was having his procedure done.

    Certainly the chapel is generic enough for use by Protestants and the Catholic items could be hidden behind shutters for that purpose if desired. Not a whole lot of people attended but among them were several patients, one in a wheelchair, and medical type people in scrubs. In my locality many many many devout Filipinos work in medical care so I think there would be a flap if someone tried to take away this Mass. I talked to the priest afterwards and told him my friend had suggested I attend and the priest knew exactly who I was talking about.

    Before Easter my friend was having difficulty getting to confession at our local parish (even though they had extended hours). So one day when he was at the VA he stopped by the chapel office, found a priest there and made his confession.

    This particular VA is tended to by Capuchins. Let’s pray they are allowed to continue.

  7. Imrahil says:

    Dear Kathleen10,

    I have not hitherto heard any suggestion that the US President would be an atheist (or that America would be, as the dear Mike said, on the road to paganism*). He seems to be a mainstream Protestant Christian, with somewhat all they stand for in these days. Not everyone who is in error, no matter how serious the error is, is therefore an atheist, unless the error be directly about the existence of God.

    [* Chesterton, in a gloomy moment, might have said: ‘I wish she were. But she’s on the road to modern post-Christian sentimentalism and that’s worse’, and I now add an actual quote: “Give me Moloch and the barbarians!”]

  8. donadrian says:

    Looks like a municipal crematorium – not conducive to patients’ well-being.

  9. tonyfernandez says:

    What is even sadder are the churches that do this to themselves and try to hide their high altar and crucifix with this kind of veil to replace it with a bare cross.

  10. Moro says:

    Most hospitals have a multi-faith style chapel to accomodate everyone. Same is true of some airports. The Catholic Iconography comes out only for mass or perhaps another service of some kind. People should be accepting of the Cross of Christ but this is by no means unique to the VA

  11. Uxixu says:

    I am loathe to give much credence to the ideas that the current POTUS is a Muslim, etc despite what he might claim which seems more aimed at expectations. He’s frequent golfer but never attends religious services for ex. Regardless, his administration is very clearly anti-Christian in practice nowhere moreso than in anything to do with the military. Locking out and prohibiting Catholic chaplains but who could imagine such being done to a Muslim chaplain aka Imam?

    If he wasn’t so cringing incompetent, I might be more seriously concerned. I can only pray the next administration will reverse all of these policy implementations and look at the current administration as something like I look at the historical record of Julian the Apostate.

  12. wanda says:

    Gospel of St. Mark, Chapter 8, vs. 38.

  13. If I found myself inside that chapel, that curtain would come down.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    Very common for multi-use military chapels to secure denomination-oriented decorations and other items behind a curtain or shutter. This is nothing new. This is like FauxNews creating a fake story.

  15. excalibur says:

    This is surprising? They deny we are a Christian nation, though the very roots are Christian (though not Catholic), and the foundation is too. They recognize Wiccan in the armed forces. No, this is unsurprising as they are very busy indeed chopping those roots.

  16. Mike says:

    Very common for multi-use military chapels to secure denomination-oriented decorations and other items behind a curtain or shutter. This is nothing new.
    A fair point of view…

    This is like FauxNews creating a fake story.
    …clobbered yet again by Fox Derangement Syndrome.

  17. excalibur says:


    Who uses the term FauxNews except people on the hard left? I am well acquainted with people on the far left thinking they have come up with a real great phrase there. Yet they, and you, confuse the news portion with the talking head portion. That there is any decent and reliable news is basically FOX and not ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR or PBS (or, shudder! MSNBC). Note I am referring to the news part of FOX, not the talking heads part. It was the news part of FOX News which was recently praised at the 92nd Street Y by Jeff Greenfield and Joe Klein.

  18. jflare says:

    I have little choice but to be rather perplexed by this particular posting. If statues, an altar, and a cross have been placed behind a curtain, well, what of it? Why is anyone shocked?

    While stationed at an Air Base 14-16 years ago, I eventually discerned that the large box that I had assumed to be a tabernacle actually was not. It could display a crucifix for Catholic Mass, a cross for Protestant services, or nothing when no service might be happening. An enlisted person would rotate this item to change the face, depending on what congregation would be having service next. I don’t recall any statues or stained glass anywhere, but then I often wondered if the building had been a chapel to begin; because of the slanted roof, I assumed it probably had been converted into a chapel from…something else. I recall being further surprised to discover that we had a tabernacle in a small room, located a short way down a hallway. I believe it was technically marked as a chapel, but I would not have known to look for it, except for going to Confession in the room on one occasion.

    Mind you, I didn’t necessarily think well of this situation; having one service following 30 minutes after another meant the parking lot was prone to be a zoo for much of Sunday morning and we could forget having time to pray in quiet peace. I recall being involved in a conflict of sorts when the choir–including myself–annoyed several congregants who had gathered to pray a Rosary before Mass; they wanted us to pipe down. Between the fact that we literally had no other place to rehearse and the fact that I wasn’t especially keen on the Rosary at the time, it’s probably just as well that I wasn’t in charge of the choir. As for a distinctly Catholic identity being enabled, well, I more or less took it as a given that this was a military facility; they didn’t necessarily place much priority on being holy.
    I did, on occasion, wonder whether people truly received much useful catechesis or direction, especially underage people–read “kids”–but I figured that was something well beyond my control.

    Long story short, I’m surprised this caught anyone’s attention. Whether in the VA or the military, this has been happening for quite some time.

  19. ckdexterhaven says:

    People who use the term Faux News probably get their propaganda from MSDNC.

  20. stephen c says:

    According to the article, something changed in a specific year, six years ago. Those posters who claim this is not new and has been happening for a long time (longer than 6 years, I would guess)either did not read the article, or else expect the rest of us to give more credence to their unsourced affirmations than to the published and, presumably, fact-checked statements of the journalist who wrote this article. By the way, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Christian four-star officers (retired and active duty), Christian congressmen, and Christian high level ecclesiastics (including dozens of Catholic bishops and cardinals, retired or not) who could appropriately comment in a public way on this situation. Retired General Boykin spoke out; my guess is he will be almost alone. On the other hand, General Boykin does not have to worry about keeping a 4 star billet and getting invited to give fun speeches around the country, or about keeping the Republican national organization on his side, or about having some comfortable laughs at the next Al Smith dinner. I believe that there is a much smaller level of concern and respect for the welfare of Christian military veterans in this country than the politicians and media wants us to think.

  21. “Get To Work” will probably Get You Audited, Father!

  22. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Very common for multi-use military chapels to secure denomination-oriented decorations and other items behind a curtain or shutter. This is nothing new.

    More to it than that.

    Ft Leavenworth had a separate Catholic Chapel, St Ignatius. Jesuit missionaries were the first priests to visit, and the first among them was Fr DeSmet. In 1871 the cornerstone was laid, and, thanks to fund raising, the chapel was finally completed. In 2001 a fire destroyed the building. Appeals by Catholics to erect, at no govt expense, another Catholic chapel on the lot were denied under the Bush administration.

  23. robtbrown says:

    I might add that I prefer the photo of Fr Kapaun saying mass on the hood of jeep to use of the multi-use buildings.

  24. Cantor says:

    Most of the bases at which I was stationed from the seventies to the nineties had multi-use chapels rather than dedicated churches/synagogues/mosques. The academies and some larger installations do have separate facilities. Never been aboard a ship with individuals chapels. Sadly, in an era where everybody “demands their rights” and few want to pay for them, I suspect many facilities may just shutter the places completely and leave the folks to find their own in the civilian economy.

    Neither is it limited to military facilities. The Catholic hospitals I’ve visited have all had multi-use chapels with quite an assortment of prayer books for people who wish to communicate with God.

  25. Michael_Thoma says:

    Maybe the chapel was being converted to the Syriac or Chaldean Tradition =)

    We Syriac, Maronite, Syro-Malankara, Chaldean, and Syro-Malabar Catholics Traditionally would have a veil separating the altar from the congregation, which opens and closes at various points during the Liturgy.

    Thanks for the promo VA!

  26. Serviam1 says:

    I am a VA Employee who takes advantage of daily Mass at the VA campus at West Roxbury [Boston], MA. I have nothing but good to say about the VA Catholic chaplaincy that fall under the jurisdiction of AMS [Archdiocese of the Military Service]. Generally, speaking we have contracted priests who are retired Senior Priests from the Archdiocese of Boston. Our full time chaplain and one contract priest are Lasalette Fathers from the Lasalette Shrine in Attleboro (MA). All priests stationed at West Roxbury are predominantly there to serve the inpatient Veterans. Employee needs are secondary. In fact, as of two years ago our other Boston Campus in Jamaica Plain no longer has a chapel or chaplain since it is no longer an inpatient facility [as of 1998].

    Yes, our “worship space” is incredibly lacking in terms of iconography, since it is intended as “Multi-Faith” chapel. It is ironic that over 90% of the usage is Catholic, since we have a scheduled daily and Sunday Mass.

    One fringe benefit of working at the VA is that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a Tabernacle in a small room off of the chapel. A a pre-dieu is available for visits. This is mostly available so priests can distribute Holy Communion amongst the sick Veterans staying in the Medical Center. It should be noted there is no contractual arrangement for EMHC’s to be used in this capacity at the VA [at least in Boston]. Nevertheless, it remains a great blessing that VA employees and mobile inpatiernts can pay Him a quick visit during an otherwise busy day. Many secular [non-Catholic] private hospital cannot boast this for it patients or employees.

    When one considers the current cultural and politcal climate, I pray this continues, as it has for many years.

  27. Sonshine135 says:

    I’m far from an Obama fan, but I am wondering if this isn’t being blown out of proportion a bit. The curtain around the altar is a bit much, but you have to remember that these chapels are multiuse. When I was in the service, I went to military chapels for everyday assemblies. Their was always a crucifix and a cross with nor corpus on the wall behind curtains that could be “reeled out” for the appropriate service. I would be much more concerned if this VA hospital was one that wasn’t seeing patients regularly.

    In any case, I think we all can agree the VA has a lot more to worry about than its chapels. That should be the least of their concerns at this critical time.

  28. frjim4321 says:

    ckdexterhaven says:
    1 June 2014 at 3:18 pm
    People who use the term Faux News probably get their propaganda from MSDNC.

    No they probably just all have three digit IQ’s.

  29. Maria says:

    Dear frjim4321 says:
    1 June 2014 at 9:31 pm

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

    “ckdexterhaven says:
    1 June 2014 at 3:18 pm
    People who use the term Faux News probably get their propaganda from MSDNC.

    No they probably just all have three digit IQ’s.” —- was this really a necessary comment from a priest with 3 digit IQ?

    God’s blessings of peace and joy!

  30. SKAY says:

    Imrahil said-

    ” He seems to be a mainstream Protestant Christian, with somewhat all they stand for in these days.”

    The pastor of the church in Chicago that President Obama attended for 20 years _Rev. Wright-
    preached Black Liberation Theology. That is not mainstream Christian Protestant Theology.

    It has become crystal clear that you have to pay attention to what Mr Obama actually does—and not the words he reads on the teleprompter.

  31. jflare says:

    stephen c,
    I don’t understand the point of your posting. If you’re irritated that several of us aren’t precisely shocked by this situation, well, maybe it’d help to understand that some of us probably were aggravated or shocked ourselves when we saw what we saw or experienced what we experienced.

    If you’re highlighting a change having come along six years ago, per the article, I can assure you I read the article. If you’re highlighting the idea that something changed 6 years ago–perhaps with Obama’s election–I’d like to notice that I encountered the “multi-faith ‘chapel'” at Sea-Tac Airport and my base chapel at Misawa AB 16 years ago. About 6 years later, I encountered arrangements much like Sonshine mentioned at Offutt AFB. …During George W. Bush’s Presidency.

    I you think this outrageous, well, OK. What are you willing to do in the name of seeing this change?
    Given the attitudes I’ve come across since my 20’s, I suspect that insistence on dedicating chapels to particular faiths will not happen without a stiff fight. Atheists, agnostics, secularists, progressives, and possibly even other Christians may argue that we shouldn’t have military chapels at all; they’re “offended” that we dare use their tax dollars to fund an activity that they consider ignorant and unneeded.
    (Think of some of the comments we saw regarding chaplains during the government shutdown.)

    I hate to be a doomsday prophet, but I can imagine serious civil unrest occurring before we see genuinely beautiful chapels with particular faith ideals taking hold on military or VA facilities.

  32. Mike says:

    No they probably just all have three digit IQ’s. Or: “If you disagree with my politically correct taunt, you’re mentally deficient.”

    God help us.

  33. Imrahil says:

    Dear Skay,

    thanks for the information. As for me, my information was that the President does belong to some variety of Protestantism and is politically very much along this general Protestant line (not I do not mean the reformers themselves nor those known as “evangelicals” today, but contemporary mainstream Protestants), which may approximately be summarized as “let’s not be too religious”. Naturally I principally looked at “hot issues” such as abortion.

    Anyway, Black Liberation Theology seems to be not atheist, as well.

  34. Imrahil says:

    As a piece of general information, “mental deficiency”, if defined by I.Q. at all, means an I.Q. of less than 70.

  35. JustaSinner says:

    Time to start thinking about the start date to the 2nd American Revolution….those that are prepared will survive, the rest, not so much.

  36. LarryW2LJ says:

    “No they probably just all have three digit IQ’s.”

    Unfortunately, I have also personally found this to be a common putdown by people who lean towards the Left, certain friends and relatives included. Whenever I say something that even sounds semi-Conservative, or has a ‘Traditional” Catholic bent to it, jokes or comments are made referring to my lack of mental ability or a perhaps just a lack of education. In fact, when I once made a statement defending my Pro-Life stance, an old friend, who I hadn’t been in touch with for years, got in touch with my sister, asking her if perhaps I had recently had a nervous breakdown.

    As far as many from the Left are concerned (not all, but many), if you’re Catholic, Conservative and Pro-Life then you are either a) stupid, b) uneducated, or c) crazy – or perhaps a mixture of all three. And that’s quite all right with me ……. because I’ll go against the tide however far and fast I have to, so that one day, when I stand before the Lord – I will NOT hear “I don’t know you” come from His lips.

  37. MikeM221 says:

    “No they probably just all have three digit IQ’s.”

    Liberals generally seem to think that conservatives are unintelligent, uneducated, uncompassionate, uncaring, etc. Their arrogance is very off-putting.

  38. SKAY says:

    Ridicule is suggested by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals–

    * RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

    * RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

    This is a political tactic and certainly does not prove their insinuation that they are mentally superior. It is pretty clear that they do enjoy tearing others down in order to feel better about themselves and their political ideology.
    Bullies like to do the same thing.

    Mrs Clinton always talked about doing things “smarter”(meaning smarter then Republicans)–so then as Secretary of State when she handed the “reset” button to her Russian counterpart–the word was spelled wrong in Russian and meant something different. Condi Rice speaks Russian-so she probably would have made sure the word was spelled correctly.

  39. benedetta says:

    Interesting. Probably the overall intention at a chapel such as that by design is to be welcoming to atheists who cannot tolerate any sort of reminder of another’s belief in God? Or, they are catering to the great hordes of iconoclasts…

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