A Veterans Affairs Hospital in Texas found the hassle over staying on the right side of government political correctness too much of a pain – so it decided to stop all correspondence that contains religious language at the front door.
That includes Christmas cards, as a group of elementary school children at Grace Academy in Propser, Texas found out – to their disappointment – this week.
Fifty-two students at the school crafted personalized Christmas cards for VA patients at the Dallas hospital. The cards were combination greeting and “thank you” notes, and each bore the unique mark of the student who created it.
But the hospital rejected the cards because they referred to Christmas by name.
From Dallas-Ft. Worth’s KDFW:
The cards were the idea of Susan Chapman, a math teacher at Grace Academy. She’s married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans’ organizations.
“It really didn’t occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards,” said Chapman.
She didn’t find out about the VA’s holiday card policy until she called Monday morning to arrange details for the cards’ delivery.
“I told him my students made cards; we’d like to bring them down for the veterans,” said Chapman. “And he said, ‘That’s great. We’re thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can’t accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you’ or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'”
The cards had drawings of things like the American flag, military insignia and Christmas trees.
An official with the VA later clarified the policy, which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook, by stating the following:
A VA official explained that “all donated holiday cards” are subject to a review by the chaplain and a “multidisciplinary team of staff” before they can be distributed to patients – on a one-on-one basis, after the patient agrees he is not offended by a specific card’s religious connotation.
With that kind of mandatory hoop jumping to perform, it’s no surprise the hospital simply rejected the cards outright.
At least the cards aren’t going to waste – they’re headed to an Army medical facility in San Antonio and a private veterans’ facility in Louisiana.