An 84-year-old widow faces state-ordered eviction from a VA home because of her Bible study.
Artis Breau, a chaplaincy volunteer at her VA home in Yountville, California, first had her status as a volunteer suspended in December because of a complaint about her past of sharing the gospel.
An elderly man in residence complained supposedly about stress and lack of sleep because of the eternal Hell and punishment for sin that Breau spoke of to him in September.
Government thuggery sprang from the California Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or Cal Vet, as officials jumped at the chance to label shared evangelical belief to be a form of elder abuse.
After nixing her volunteer work, they investigated her actions. On March 1 they ordered Breau’s voluntary Bible study to cease and desist or else she must be terminated of her residence, turned out onto the streets if necessary.
Depending on the options and support systems of elderly VA home residents, the result could be the same as wheeling her off a cliff.
She wasn’t about to wilt off the edge, though. She lawyered up instead, so now attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute are on the case, pro-bono for the sake of religious liberties.
According to CJI Attorney Matthew McReynolds, an additionally upsetting aspect of this case is that officials appear especially disapproving of Breau’s evangelical Jewish beliefs. “CalVet’s treatment of this widow is shameful,” he said.
CJI Founder Brad Dacus
It’s important that her rights are not infringed upon by a hostile government.
“Throughout this process, we have been deeply disturbed not only by the lack of constitutional guidelines, ineptitude and lack of due process in the investigation, but even more by the notion that discussing religious views on the eternal state of the soul is somehow elder abuse.”
The situation caught the attention of national conservative commentator Todd Starnes, who interviewed CJI founder Brad Dacus on his radio program.
They agreed that a key term to understand of this case is the meaning of the word voluntary.
The government “claims it needs to protect residents from this elderly widow, even though attendance at her Bible studies is entirely voluntary,” Starnes noted.
Dacus said that PJI plans to consider every legal option available to help Breau, a World War II veteran’s widow. “No one should have to surrender their religious beliefs when they live in a veterans’ home,” Dacus told Starnes and listeners. “It’s important that her rights are not infringed upon by a hostile government.”