It came as a shock last week to learn that Bibles had been banned at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The official memo, issued by the hospital’s Chief of Staff, C.W. Callahan, was blunt and to the point:
“No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.”
Yet, just as soon as the stunning and disturbing news spread, the ban was rescinded.
Sandy Dean, a public affairs officer at Walter Reed, tried to explain the origin of the offensive policy. She said, “Our initial intention was to respect religious and cultural practices of our patients.”
At play here is a seriously dangerous philosophy, namely that to respect the “religious and cultural practices” of one, it’s necessary to ban that which is sacred to another.
Such logic has no place in the United States of America, a country founded upon, among other truths rooted in natural law, the principle of personal religious freedom.
Beyond violating a person’s rights, though, the ban also flies in the face of common medical sense. Let me tell you why.
Patients who have negative thoughts – say questioning God’s care for them – are more likely to develop worse health outcomes than patients who show positive spiritual coping, such as turning to religion for solace … Studies indicate that chaplain visits can result in less patient anxiety, shorter hospital stays and higher satisfaction.
To withhold that which brings hope and helps introduce a person to Him who heals, is, in my opinion, an act tantamount to medical malpractice. I am grateful that it appears cooler heads have prevailed this time.
But in the end, this I know to be true:
The very Bible that some have attempted to ban through the centuries is filled with story after story reminding us that regardless of worldly opposition, the will of God cannot be thwarted or stopped. He is on the throne. He is on the move.
And He is in control.
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About Jim Daly
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy.
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