View Full Version : Lawmaker Wants Veterans Cemetery Investigated Over Anti-Christian Rules

07-01-2011, 02:43 AM
A Texas congressman has called for an investigation into what he calls “anti-religious” and “anti-Christian” decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to allegedly prohibit veterans from mentioning “God” or “Jesus” during funerals at the Houston National Cemetery.

“The federal government should not have a policy of being anti-religious especially at a religious ceremony – a burial of one of our veterans,” said Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. “Congress has got to get involved and change the anti-Christian, anti-religion philosophy in the Veterans Administration.” Poe was responding to accusations filed in federal court that the Houston National Cemetery banned

Congressmen call for resignation of Houston National Cemetery director over religious censorship allegations

HOUSTON – At least two members of Congress have called for the termination of the director of Houston National Cemetery amid allegations of religious censorship.

"I am deeply troubled by the allegations that were brought to my attention when I met with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Houston," said U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Houston).

Poe called for Arleen Ocasio’s firing days after several groups in Houston sued the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The lawsuit claims Ocasio told them to stop saying "God bless you" at the funerals of veterans.

Ocasio came under fire in May after a Houston pastor claimed she asked him to edit the words "Jesus Christ " out of his Memorial Day prayer service.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Houston) told KHOU 11 News he supported Congressman Poe’s call for Ocasio’s termination.

"This is shocking," he said. "[It is] really abhorrent to our veterans that they can’t have a proper military burial and not refer to God or Jesus Christ."

The Houston Area Pastor Council has also called for Ocasio’s termination.

It planned a rally for clergy and veterans at Houston National Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 4th.

....She's hiding out these days....

Ocasio’s staff told KHOU 11 News she was out of the office this week and unavailable for comment.


07-01-2011, 11:57 AM
"Among the allegations raised in a federal civil suit against VA is a claim that Ocasio did not allow volunteer honor guards to recite prayers at funerals without approval of the deceased veteran's family.
The catch, according to the suit, was that the honor guards couldn't get approval because they were forbidden from providing optional texts to the families for consideration.
Cemetery guidelines released by VA on Thursday appeared to confirm that VA's National Cemetery Administration does not allow volunteer honor guards to submit any texts to veterans' families for review.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7635190.html#ixzz1QrgZ8Oy4"

Sounds like the policy is aimed at unsolicited opinions made to the family and isn't specific to any religion. The way I read it, the cemetery is saying that if the family wants prayers or suggestions for prayer they will ask for it.

07-01-2011, 12:37 PM
You can send an email to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki here...