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Family Research Council sues Navy over Bible ban

After discovering a Bible ban back in December 2011 at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, the Family Research Council filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Navy today.

Judicial Watch, the public interest group representing the family council, filed the lawsuit after the Navy failed to respond to the council's Freedom of Information request to obtain records concerning the Navy's ban of "religious items" from being "used or given away" during patient visits. The Navy acknowledged the council's request for records on Dec. 21, and was required by law to respond by Jan. 23.

The Family Research Council's president, Tony Perkins, said the council will push through with the investigation until it finds out what was behind the ban.

“We filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Walter Reed Military Medical Center in hope of understanding who authorized the Bible ban and why," Perkins said in a statement. "Although the center’s spokesmen assure that the policy has been rescinded, we have yet to see the revised policy. Until then, we’ll push forward with our investigation to see who or what is driving the religious purging. This is yet another troubling instance of Obama administration hostility toward religious liberty, a liberty that is guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

The memo,issued on Sept. 14 by Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, contained a section stating, "No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit." The policy was rescinded in early December.

Sandy Dean, spokesperson for Walter Reed, told The Washington Examiner that the policy was "written incorrectly," and that a ban on religious items was never enforced.

"Family can and always have been able to bring in any religious materials," Dean said. "It should have been more thoroughly reviewed."

Perkins told the Examiner he was skeptical of Dean's assertion and that's why the family council requested all communications regarding the creation of the policy.

"If you can't get it right in a memo (from the commander), who can you trust?" Perkins said.