Federal officials ban ‘God’, ‘Jesus’ at funeral services, claim outraged veterans
HOUSTON, Texas, July 8, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Three veterans’ organizations have claimed that officials with the Obama administration are forcing them not to mention God or Jesus during funeral services at a national cemetery in Texas.
Fox News reported last week that the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion and the National Memorial Ladies told a federal judge last Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is consistently censoring their prayers at funerals conducted at Houston National Cemetery.
By doing so, the cemetery’s director and other government officials are creating “religious hostility” and violating vets’ First Amendment rights, the groups say.
“We were told we could no longer say ‘God bless you’ and ‘God bless your family’,” Marilyn Koepp, a volunteer with the National Memorial Ladies, told MyFoxHouston.com. Another participant, Nobleton Jones, said that he felt humiliated when barred from saying “God” during part of a gun salute ceremony.
“I tell the people, ‘We ask that God grant you and your family grace, mercy and peace,’ That forth has been censored,” said Jones.
CBS News reports that the chapel at the cemetery “has allegedly been closed, its cross and Bible removed, and it is now said to be used as a ‘meeting space’ when it is unlocked at all.”
According to Fox, the Department of Veterans Affairs said in a statement that it “respects every veteran and their family’s right to burial service that honors their faith tradition.”
The news service notes, however, that the allegations arose only a month after a federal judge was forced to issue a temporary injunction barring federal officials from censoring a pastor who wished to use the words “Jesus Christ” in his invocation at a Memorial Day service at the same cemetery.
Read the report on MyFoxHouston.com here.