Hospital Restores Pay to Punished Veteran, Reiterates Ban on ‘God Bless America’ in Signature

Hawks ssSTOCKTON, CA — A hospital in California that recently put a retired military veteran on leave after he asked to speak with an attorney about their request to remove ‘God bless America’ from his email signature has partially rescinded its actions following a national outcry over the matter.

As previously reported, Dameron Hospital employee Boots Hawks was called into his supervisor’s office earlier this month and asked to remove the phrase from his email, which is one of three that he posts with his signature. “Excuses only satisfy the person making them” and “Change is either induced by inspiration or desperation” are also displayed on each email.

“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.”

While Hawks complied with the directive, he also told his supervisor that he wanted to consult with an attorney about his rights.

Much to his surprise, Hawks was put on leave for “insubordination.” He returned to work this Wednesday to find that the combination on his lock had been changed and his computer password had been suspended.

As Hawks had contacted the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the organization sent a letter to the hospital, demanding that it recant its actions. It noted that Hawks has been on staff for ten years and was once named “Employee of the Year.” He had served twenty years in the Army, earning the rank of Sergeant First Class.

“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,” stated PJI President Brad Dacus. “The hospital’s actions were outrageous and illegal. We expect a swift apology and full restoration of Mr. Hawks’ rights.”

  • Connect with Christian News

As reports of the incident broke nationwide, the hospital provided further information to PJI, and is partially recanting the reasons for putting Hawks on leave. The organization reported on Friday that a Dameron human resource official advised that Mr. Hawks was no longer considered to be insubordinate, but state that he may have been “disrespectful.” The hospital agreed to restore the lost pay from the time when Hawks was on leave, and advised that no punishment would be implied.

However, Dameron officials continue to insist that Mr. Hawks refrain from including “God bless America” in his email signature. A reason for the ban on the phrase has not yet been provided.

“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.”

Hawks said that he appreciates the hospital and does not wish to speak poorly of his place of employment, but feels that the situation is unjust.

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

Become a Christian News Network Supporter...

Dear Reader, has been of benefit and a blessing to you? For many years now, the Lord has seen fit to use this small news outlet as a strong influential resource in keeping Christians informed on current events from a Biblical worldview. Despite Facebook's recent algorithm changes, which has limited our readership, and, as a result, has affected operational revenue, we continue to strive to bring you the news without compromise and to keep Christ in focus. If you have benefited from our news coverage, would you please prayerfully consider becoming a Christian News supporter by clicking here to make a one-time or monthly donation to help keep the truth widely and freely published and distributed? May Christ continue to be exalted through this work!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Webb

    If Hawks had been a Muslim, he wouldn’t have been touched. In fact, he’d be allowed several extra prayer breaks each day after being chosen as Employee of the Month.

  • stevo_777

    This is ridiculous to treat anyone like this! Muslim would’ve gotten away with writing or saying whatever!
    I disagree with the hospital’s opinion that he was disrepectful! It’s not disrepectful to take up for yourself, especially when the other person or organization is clearly in the wrong!

  • Aj

    If he had been a “headscarf-wearing” muslim…well, the rules would have been made anew to accomodate him/her. We Americans can get no relief. Only us can be told what not to wear, and that we cannot include religious prayer in our school day activities. Yet any “threatening-style” and “fear-inducing “scary muslim can threaten to yell “religion!” they now can be excused from school classes regularilyfor daily prayer, and also wear “gang-style” dress ie: the islamic costume…not mainstream professional wear we are all forced to comply with!!! How come we can ban some crips and blood gang colors as disruptive…and yet not ban any head scarf “prostelitize-wear” clothing? If I chose to waer a Nun’s habit costume for school, I guarentee I wpould be sent home from work or school and told in no uncertain terms to change my clothing. If the can’t run with the big dogs…well, stay back on the porch!!! If they women MUST wear nun’s outfits in puyblic, they are not fit to deal with the public!! If they simply MUST be allowed to have several prayer breaks per day, when even smoker’s are regulated on how many breaks they get, well, deal with it! They can’t integrate with our public rules and norms, I guess they may return to the home country they so willingly fled from!

  • thomas ilson

    If he was a gay, transgendered, black muslim and signed his correspondence with Aluah Ahkbar!, they would have promoted him, given him a raise and made him employee of the millennium!

  • Sentient1

    I’ve experienced bigotry as a Christian, Wiccan or any other belief system that I chose to proudly display. I realize the upset and certainly it’s wrong for folk to be picked out due to their choosing to stand up for what they believe in. It’s all over! Adults can be just as mean as school children when they do things such as this. Please understand that bigotry itself is huge it’s not just picking on your belief it’s has more to do with the people who do it rather than yourself. We’re all Divine. God is everywhere. Government, business or what have you will do what they do. The appearance of taking God out of anything is just that an appearance as the Divine is everywhere ( even we are fragments of divinity imo). Do not let yourself be afraid and focus on what others do. Focus on your connection to God because once you start to focus on what “others” are doing you are letting fear win out instead of love. God is love, period.