Kids' Xmas Wishes for Vets Defended, Not Abandoned

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Christmas cards made by a group of Texas students are on their way to veterans facilities in San Antonio and Louisiana after a Veterans Affairs hospital in Dallas refused to accept them.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is under fire what's being called its discriminatory policies on Christmas cards to veterans.

On Tuesday, the Liberty Institute penned a letter to the VA demanding it stop prohibiting school children from sending homemade cards to vets that say "Merry Christmas" or "God Bless You."

"The VA is once again engaging in unlawful religious discrimination.  It is shameful that the VA continues to censor religious speech in Christmas cards when the VA knows it is against the law to do so," Hiram Sasser, director of Litigation for Liberty Institute, charged.  "What makes this situation so extraordinary is that the VA's censors are now banning 'Merry Christmas.' 

The missive was written on behalf of Susan Chapman, a teacher at Grace Academy of North Texas and organizer of a Christmas card project for veterans.

"It is so sad that the VA is sending a message to our children that after all the veterans have done to fight for freedom across the world, the children have no freedom to say 'Merry Christmas' or 'God Bless You' to these honorable men and women," said Chapman, who started the program at the request of a parent.

James Meiseman, Commander of the Bill Bryan Post 110 of The American Legion in McKinney, Texas, agreed.

"We served to defend the Constitution of the United States and we should be protecting the rights of these children to say Merry Christmas to the veterans not censoring them."

A federal judge ordered the VA in the past not to discriminate when it comes to religious speech or words such as "God" and "Jesus" in condolence cards or similar documents given by volunteers. That was part of a religious discrimination suit ruling in 2011 in a case also brought by Liberty Institute.

The ruling also stated the VA was "...not to interfere with the giving of gifts, including gifts that contain a religious message or viewpoint."

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