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Originally published December 3 2013

Hospital punishes veteran for using 'God bless America' in email signature text

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Americans are supposed to have the freedom to enjoy a plethora of liberties, among them, freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. And yet, as our post-constitutional period deepens, we begin to realize that the Bill of Rights seems more like a quaint anachronism instead of basic human rights acknowledged and protected by government.

This realization is especially painful to our nation's veterans, like me, because when you put your rear end on the line for country and Constitution, you get really offended when said constitutional rights are denied to you, out of spite, hatred for our way of life or some other equally asinine and inappropriate reason.

So I completely understand the frustration of veterans like Boots Hawks when some little Stalin uses his or her power to deny him rights that he served to uphold and protect.

'I believe in America'

As reported by Breitbart News:

Dameron Hospital in Stockton, CA, suspended Boots Hawks, an employee and veteran, right before Veterans Day without pay - because of a "God Bless America" email signature, which he has used for over a year.

Hawks took off the signature but told the hospital he wanted to seek legal representation. The following day he found his password and locks changed, and the hospital put him on leave without pay for insubordination.

So not only did these pukes punish him for daring to believe that he still had First Amendment rights, they threw a heaping handful of salt into the wound when he dared to stand up for himself. Nice.

"I believe in America, and I believe in God so strongly," Hawks told local television station KCRA. "And I believe that America needs a blessing."

Hawks, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army and achieved the enlisted rank of sergeant first class, contacted the Sacramento, California-based Pacific Justice Institute following his suspension and reprimand. In response, the non-profit legal organization sent a letter to the feckless hospital administration, demanding officials there recant their actions.

The letter also noted Hawks' military achievements and the fact that he had been on staff with the hospital for 10 years as a quality assurance staffer, having once been named "Employee of the Year."

"Rarely do we see something as shocking as supervisors placing a hard-working military veteran on leave right before Veterans' Day for saying something patriotic," PJI President Brad Dacus told Christian News Network. "The hospital's actions were outrageous and illegal. We expect a swift apology and full restoration of Mr. Hawks' rights."

Some hospital backing down, but not nearly enough

After reports of the hospital's actions circulated around the country, officials there began to walk back some of their actions. Now, Hawk will reportedly receive back pay for the time he missed, and his "insubordination" label has been rescinded (now, Human Resources will only say that he was "disrespectful").

But he still cannot use his email signature. And what's more, the hospital won't say why.

"We view the hospital's response as a retreat from some of their earlier positions, but clearly they have a long way to go toward making this right," Dacus stated. "We will continue to press for fair and equal treatment of Mr. Hawks' speech. No one - least of all a veteran - should be censored for fear that someone will be offended by their patriotism."

In the end, Hawks remains congenial, choosing not to trash his employer, because he's a class act. Nevertheless, he says an injustice has taken place.

"I don't mean this to be bad publicity," he told reporters. "I just see that we need to have justice done."

He's right. And the most important element of securing justice is making sure that the little Stalins in our lives don't get away with their actions.


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