- The Washington Times - Friday, August 15, 2014

Bibles began disappearing from Navy lodges over the summer after complaints were made by an atheist group, but that decision has now been reversed while a policy review takes place.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation complained about the religious books earlier in the year, which prompted the Navy Exchange to have managers put Gideons Bibles in lost-and-found locations.

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes, the paper reported Friday. “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

The atheist group’s attorney Sam Grover said his complaint included military members who had not seen anything other than the Bible in Navy lodges for over 20 years, Stars and Stripes reported.

“That demonstrates the Navy’s preference for Christianity over all other religions and nonreligious sects,” he told the paper.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation, which is based in Wisconsin, also suggested that Navy lodges offer patrons the “Born Again Skeptics Guide to the Bible,” Stars and Stripes reported.

SEE ALSO: Missouri National Guard hit with atheist legal threat over free Bibles available to recruits

While the Navy conducts its review of policies and procedures relating to the Bibles, the Navy Exchange wants all inquiries about the placement of religious materials sent to the “chaplain’s office for the military installation where the lodge is located,” a memo written by Bill Mayhue, the Navy lodge program regional manager, stated Friday, the paper reported.

The Navy said that decision made earlier in the summer to remove the religious books was made without consulting senior leadership, Stars and Stripes said.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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