Military-Veterans Advocacy has demanded that Navy Exchange Chief Executive Officer Rear Admiral Robert Bianchi, USN (Retired), reverse his decision to remove Gideon Bibles from Navy Lodge hotel rooms. In an August 13, 2014 letter, Military-Veterans Advocacy Executive Director attorney John B. Wells decried what he called the "decision to discriminate against Christians and Jews by overturning the tradition of providing Bibles in a night stand drawer at Navy Lodges." Wells, is a retired Navy Commander who served 22 years as a surface warfare officer before becoming an attorney.
In the letter to Bianchi, Wells noted that he stays at Navy Lodges and often reads a verse or two from the Bible before retiring. He went on to note that many of the organizations members and board of directors are also eligible to stay at Navy Lodges.
"There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about providing Bibles in the drawer of a night stand," Wells said. "The Bibles are there to be used or not used at the individual’s discretion. That policy upholds a long tradition of religious freedom and allows individuals to express their religious beliefs or gain solace from Scriptures."
Wells noted that his organization is reviewing whether or not to bring legal action. Military-Veterans Advocacy has brought three suits within the past year concerning religious freedom issues in the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs. They have also brought a suit to force the VA to grant Agent Orange benefits to those who served aboard ships in the bays, harbors and territorial seas of Vietnam. More recently, they brought a suit on behalf of a burn pit whistle blower who was forced out of the Navy after raising concerns.
A copy of Wells’ letter to Bianchi is attached.