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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:10 PM
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Walter Reed rewriting policy on religious items
Decision comes after guidelines were questioned by lawmaker

By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Dec 7, 2011 12:33:36 EST

Visitors guidelines at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., are being revised after an Iowa congressman complained Dec. 2 that the rules kept family members, priests, ministers and others from bringing Bibles, rosaries or other religious materials to patients.

A section of the guidelines designed to protect patients from proselytizers was rescinded last week after Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, discussed it on the House floor, asserting it violated the First Amendment protecting free exercise of religion.

The guidelines, signed by Walter Reed-Bethesdas chief of staff Army Col. Charles Callahan, stated that No religious items, (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.

The intent was to respect patients religious practices and preserve their privacy, explained hospital spokeswoman Sandy Dean. She said patients often are visited by volunteers from benevolent organizations as well as strangers, ranging from celebrities, politicians and well-meaning VIPs, and the guidelines were developed to respect patients own beliefs.

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/12/military-walter-r...
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mysuzuki2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:12 PM
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1. I thought Walter Reed had been closed?
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:46 PM
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2. It's merging with the National Naval Medical Center.
Last I heard they're still building the new facility in Virginia.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:47 PM
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3. It makes sense to prohibit proselytizing
Patients shouldn't be pestered when they're in a particularly vulnerable state, and are captive audiences. But there's no reason the policy against transfer/use of religious materials should be so stringent that even family members and friends can't bring them in or use them during visits (assuming the patient wants them).
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 08:17 PM
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4. It would make it difficult to give the Last Rites to a patient who asked for them.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 10:12 PM
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5. Banning bibles from personal possession and use inside of a hospital is just poorly thought out
I'm well-known around here for being entirely opposed to the intermingling of religion and government, and I wouldn't even ban personal bible possession and use in a city hall. There has to be a better way to enforce a policy of "don't be a (religious) dick" than this.
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