Texas Vets Told Not to Use 'God' During Services



They fought for their country, now they’re fighting against it.

A trio of Houston area veterans groups is suing Veterans Affairs and the director of the local National Cemetery claiming they’re trying to censor religious freedom during funerals and other ceremonies.

This all started just before Memorial Day when a pastor giving the annual prayer at the National Cemetery was told he could not use Jesus’ name. A federal judge blocked the VA’s attempt to censor him and the two sides were back in court Tuesday.

Attorney Jeff Mateer represents the Liberty Institute; he says **the cemetery director won’t allow the use of “God” or “Jesus” unless the family submits the prayer in writing for her approval.
“In addition, director Arleen Ocasio has stated the National Memorial Ladies cannot tell families ‘God Bless,’ they cannot communicate in writing or orally,” says Mateer. “And that violates the U.S. Constitution.”

Marilyn Koepp is with the National Memorial Ladies. “I would have been appalled if when the VFW did my father’s funeral in 2004, if they could not have said ‘God,’ what is happening to our country?” she asks.

This outrage is beyond mere words…

Those words, so sad. I never expected to hear them in my lifetime :frowning:

This is right up there with someone stealing the 75 year old Mojave Desert Cross that the ACLU challenged.


During each invocation (including the past two at the Houston National Cemetery), Pastor Rainey has ended his prayer, as he believes he is instructed to do by his faith, by praying in Jesus’ name. This year, for the first time Pastor Rainey was asked to submit his prayer before the ceremony (click here to read prayer). Subsequently, Ms. Arleen Ocasio (Director, Houston National Cemetery) gave Pastor Rainey an unconstitutional demand to edit his prayer to be more “inclusive.”

Upon this outrageous request, noted defender of religious freedom, the Liberty Institute, filed a brief with the VA (click here for brief) demanding that this unconstitutional position be reversed. As of yesterday evening, Obama’s Veteran Affairs department has refused to rescind the decision.

See this related thread: Houston VA accused of censoring religious speech

That thread is about a Houston Chronicle article referencing the same issue.

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