Veterans are accusing the Department of Veterans Affairs of censoring religious speech — including the word “God” – at the Houston VA National Cemetery.
The issue came up in a lawsuit filed by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, The American Legion and the National Memorial Ladies.
In one example cited in documents, the veterans groups allege that cemetery director Arleen Ocasio told volunteers with the National Memorial Ladies that they had to stop telling families “God bless you” at funerals and that they had to remove the words “God bless” from condolence cards.
A federal judge has already placed a temporary restraining order on Ocasio and the cemetery preventing the government from stopping a minister from using the words “Jesus Christ” in his invocation.
- If you have a National Cemetery in your area, this would be a good time to find out their policy on the use of “God” or “Jesus Christ” in their prayers or speech. The federal judge in Houston has given Ocasio until July 21 to get some answers for the court, so this will be a hot topic for a few weeks.
- Talk to some chaplains, military and civilians, in your area and ask if they have ever heard this happening at a National Cemetery.
- Get reaction from local veterans groups in your area.
The best story online is at the Houston Chronicle at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7630537.html
You can find Ocasio’s official bio here: