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Veterans, hospital in Bible dispute agree to mediation

  • FILE - This May 6, 2019 photo provided by the Manchester VA Medical Center shows a Bible as part of a memorial table display at the veterans hospital in Manchester, N.H. Vice President Mike Pence has weighed in on a First-Amendment lawsuit challenging a Bible on display at a New Hampshire veterans hospital, saying under the current administration, “VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.” Pence addressed the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Aug. 28. He said “The Bible stays.” (Kristin Pressly/Manchester VA Medical Center via AP) Kristin Pressly

By Associated Press
Published: 10/18/2021 10:18:08 AM

Two U.S. Air Force veterans and New Hampshire’s veterans hospital involved in a legal dispute over the display of a Bible have agreed to mediation.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in 2019 by the veterans against the Manchester hospital director said the Bible’s inclusion on a table near the entrance honoring missing veterans and prisoners of war is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The veterans said the table should be a memorial to all who have served, and they had suggested replacing the Bible with a Book of Faith containing the writings and prayers from seven religious groups.

Government lawyers argued the lawsuit should be dismissed because the lead plaintiff acknowledged he wasn’t offended by the display.

A judge on Friday supported a joint statement from the veterans and the hospital that said mediation should occur by Dec. 17, and that a magistrate judge preside.

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