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Donald Trump is a deeply, deeply holy man, as we all know. As such, he is very concerned about religious freedom. Yesterday, after signing his newfangled Religious Freedom thingamajig that apparently doesn’t actually do anything (which is good!), he accused the Obama administration of denying soldiers at military hospitals the right to have people bring religious materials to them.

According to Trump, this is what happened at the Walter Reed hospital in Maryland:

“The abuses were all over. As just one example, people were forbidden from giving or receiving religious items at a military hospital where our brave service members were being treated, and when they wanted those religious items. These were great, great people. These are great soldiers. They wanted those items. They were precluded from getting them.”

How very sad! Can you just imagine? Our American veterans being banned from getting the bibles they so desperately wanted? Elderly moms being stopped at the gate and having their rosary beads confiscated, when all they wanted to do was bring a little prayer into the lives of their suffering children? Even I, an avowed atheist, would never be OK with something like that!

Except that didn’t happen at all! (SURPRISE!) The policy — which was never actually enforced, mind you — had nothing to do with people getting a bunch of saint candles in a care package, but was instead meant to keep proselytizers from annoying patients. There had been multiple complaints about some of these groups being “persistent” and “occasionally threatening,” and this was merely an attempt to solve that problem.

It is, of course, every American’s right to run for the basement and pretend not to be home when the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons or whoever come-a-calling. What sort of monster would want to force our service men and women to be their captive audience? As if having an ass full of shrapnel or whathaveyou isn’t bad enough, you’re gonna make them sit through that? I think not!

Even the Mormons know that no one wants to talk to them, ok?

The policy was poorly worded at first, which led religious groups to believe that there was a wholesale ban on anyone giving anyone any bibles, which was not the case. It was subsequently reworded to make the intention more clear.

Trump, naturally, took this non-incident and turned it into OUR SOLDIERS ARE BEING DENIED THEIR RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS when in fact no one was denied any such thing, and patients at Walter Reed have all the bibles and worship services their hearts desire. They even all get chaplains! Whether he’s willfully misinterpreting it, or is just stupid is up for debate, but let’s be nice and assume the latter.

It sure would be nice, however, if the President of the United States occasionally took the time to figure out if something he was going to say was true before running his mouth about it. Because now there are going to be lots of people out there gasping and going “Oh no! Why were the poor soldiers denied their bibles!” when that was definitely not a thing that ever happened.

[Talking Points Memo]

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