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-God and Jesus No Longer Welcome at VA Cemetery?

by Dr. D ~ June 29th, 2011

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery

                              (Image by NOWCastSA via Flickr)

In a lawsuit, VA officials at Houston National Cemetery are being accused of censoring religious speech.

Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio reportedly banned the use of religious messages including words like “God and “Jesus” during burial rituals unless the deceased’s family submits the text for prior approval.

Also according to court records, the cemetery chapel is no longer called a ‘chapel’ but the ‘meeting facility’ since Ms. Ocasio took over as director 2 years ago.

The 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 the administration.

Response: It is rather incredible that VA officials like Director Ocasio would try and censor religious speech in a cemetery. The Constitution is supposed to allow for freedom of religion not restriction thereof. Someone as bigoted against religious folks as this director obviously is should not be allowed to serve in a position like this.

Rather than helping folks during their time of need in burying loved ones, the administration at Houston National is actually making the experience more difficult. I can’t image submitting burial messages ahead of time for prior approval having conducted and participated in several personally.

After all, what are they going to do, arrest you if you happen to let a “God bless you” slip during a message or end a prayer with the unauthorized traditional Christian ending- “In Jesus name”? This is an intrusion that government officials have no business being involved in.            *Top

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4 Responses to -God and Jesus No Longer Welcome at VA Cemetery?

  1. Brian

    The secular left is remarkable for its hypocrisy. While shouting loudly from the rooftops about the need for a very strict separation of church and state (when it suits their purposes), the same individuals are remarkable complacent about state/church interaction when it is consistent with their agenda. Case in point: taxation of churches. Can you imagine the bureaucratic control, the regulation and the consequences of taxation of churches (and, one of those consequences would inevitably be the government seizure of churches which got behind on their taxes)? Similarly, the state can regulate funeral prayers to reduce the “exclusivist” religious content and to make the prayer reflect all viewpoints, but a high school biology text book must NOT acknowledge that any other viewpoints exist besides evolution.
    Second, the right to protest by the lunatics at Westboro Baptist Church at funerals have been upheld – so one can disrupt a funeral and this is constitutionally protected speech, but must not mention the name of Jesus Christ at the funeral. Similarly, a group of Palestinian activists disrupted Rev. John Hagee’s church in Texas a few months ago – that was constitutionally protected speech.
    Finally, I have attended non-Christian funerals. When I did so, I have always been respectful to the Jewish (or, in one case, Buddhist) traditions of the deceased’s family. I have seen non-Christians (principally, in this context, Jews) attending Christian funerals – while they were not Christians, they attended the funeral out of respect for the decedent, and behaved respectfully towards the Christian traditions, including Christian prayers, at the funeral. We have a long tradition of religious tolerance in this country – but the secular left, in the name of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance”, attacks the very foundations of that tolerance.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks Brian,
    Excellent right on target comments.

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