Religious group threatens suit over VA sweat lodge dispute

Robert J. Dole, VA Medical Center (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A religious liberty group is now threatening to sue over the ongoing Native American sweat lodge dispute at the VA hospital in Wichita.

The Liberty Institute sent another letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs alleging discrimination against Native American religious practices of veterans at the Robert J. Dole Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The sweat lodge’s spiritual leader, who is a substance-abuse counselor at the center, has been indefinitely suspended. Members of the sweat lodge have been unable to meet for religious worship there without him.

The medical center says in an emailed statement that it is working steadfastly with the local Native American community to find a trained spiritual leader to perform the August sweat, while at the same time respecting cultural traditions.

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