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-VA vs. Jesus on Memorial Day?

by Dr. D ~ May 28th, 2011

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs originally demanded that all Memorial Day prayers at Houston National Cemetery on Monday be as non-denominational as possible and required them to be submitted and okayed a head of time.

The Rev. Scott Rainey was told by Veterans Affairs officials that his prayer needed to be edited and made more general leaving out his planned inclusion of the Lord’s Prayer and a reference to Jesus at the end if he wanted to give the invocation:

"I’ve never said a prayer in my life that didn’t end with Jesus Christ. It was unrealistic expectation for me not to include the name of Jesus Christ."

Rainey filed a lawsuit against the agency on Thursday, claiming the government was censoring his speech. On Friday, Federal District Judge Lynn Hughes granted a temporary restraining order which will stay in place through Monday’s Memorial Day. The judge said that the VA had stepped too far, saying officials were essentially:

"decreeing how citizens honor their veterans."

"The government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity."

This is the 3rd year that Rev. Scott Rainey has been invited to give the invocation for the Memorial Day observance held at the Houston National Cemetery. The ‘Jesus’ issue never came up before.

Response: Giving public prayers ‘in Jesus name’ is becoming an issue in this country. It was a controversial subject 2 years ago at the inauguration of President  Obama when two Christian pastors gave prayers.

If you want a service to be ‘inclusive of all beliefs’ then invite clergy of different religions to participate. But don’t expect Muslims not to pray to Allah, or Christians not to pray ‘in Jesus name’, or Jewish Rabbis not to praise God in their own unique way. Let all contribute to the mix in their own traditional way.

It really is too much to expect Christian ministers not to give prayers ‘in Jesus name’ when they theologically believe it to be an essential part of their faith. Many Christians believe that if Jesus is left out then a prayer really hasn’t been given- just a bunch of meaningless words have been spoken to no effect.

Fortunately in this case, ‘Jesus’ won out.            *Top

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2 Responses to -VA vs. Jesus on Memorial Day?

  1. -God and Jesus No Longer Welcome at VA Cemetery? | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] cemetery first came to our attention when a pastor sued and won the right to pray ‘in Jesus name’ during a Memorial Day service there after his prayer wording was rejected as being too exclusive by […]

  2. -Judge Orders Freedom of Religious Expression at National Cemeteries | ANSWERS For The Faith

    […] A lawsuit had been filed against a DVA policy that had resulted in restricting prayers and references to ‘God’ and “Jesus” during services at Houston National cemetery. We posted about this situation in June and also earlier in May.  […]

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