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Dec 31, 2013 09:47
Category: Religious News

Christmas Carols - Veterans Hospital

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A Christian legal organization is urging the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., to lift its ban on religious music in public patient areas.

The week before Christmas, the federal facility prevented a group of high school students from Augusta's Alleluia Community School from singing to its veterans a number of traditional holiday tunes that honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, such as Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Hospital spokesman Brian Rothwell said the students were offered the option of performing in a private chapel or day room where they could sing specific songs that might make veterans of other faiths uncomfortable. But he said the VA wants to protect veterans "from unwelcomed religious material."

A letter from the Alliance Defending Freedom urges the hospital to rescind what it calls an "unconstitutional" policy. ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco says, "By banning these Christmas carols, the VA is trampling the very religious freedoms our veterans have sacrificed so much to defend."