Veterans Administration hospitals have won a special award for the Christmas season, but it's not one to be proud of.
As the Christmas season began to get under way, a Virginia Veterans hospital circulated a memo to ban Christmas trees and Christmas carols and prohibit staff from saying Merry Christmas. Becket Fund attorney Luke Goodrich tells OneNewsNow that after an uproar from employees, administrators gave permission for a Christmas tree if a menorah and symbols for Kwanzaa were also displayed.
“So at least there's no ban on Christmas trees anymore, but the ban on greeting people with 'Merry Christmas' or playing religious Christmas music even in your private workspace has not been rescinded, so employees are still under a silly gag order,” he explains.
The ban wasn't confined to the Virginia hospital because there have been reports involving other VA hospitals.
“They rejected Christmas cards from school children because the Christmas cards said 'Merry Christmas' on them in the past,” Goodrich says. “They've also banned presents when the wrapping paper said 'Merry Christmas,' and in the past they've ordered carolers to sing only government-approved, secular Christmas songs.”
For those reasons and more, the Veterans Administration hospitals are receiving the 2015 Ebenezer award - that's "Ebenezer" as in Ebenezer Scrooge, the mean-spirited Christmas-hater from the popular literary work The Christmas Carol. Other groups came close to stealing the dubious honor of this award this year; a list of those runners-up is on the Becket Fund website.