July 6, 2011

Federal official bans "God" from veterans' funerals.

The director of the Houston National Cemetery, Arleen Ocasio, has taken upon herself to ban the words "God" and "Jesus Christ" from the burial ceremonies of deceased veterans. 

This federal bureaucrat - unelected of course - wants to personally approve each prayer in advance of a burial service just to make sure that those awful words don't sneak in.

I was gobsmacked when I first read about this.  A federal official censoring prayers, forbidding the mention of God at funerals for deceased veterans, sounds like a sick joke but it's not.  Where do they find these officious, meddling, preening, intolerant officials?

National Cemetery's Anti-Religious Policy Is an Injustice That Must Be Corrected

The thought that someone would have the audacity to censor religion and speech anywhere in this country is despicable. Censoring the funeral services of the veterans who spent their lives protecting the First Amendment is particularly malicious and simply unforgiveable. Director Ocasio is an unelected bureaucrat, non-veteran who is clearly out of touch with our veterans and the constitution.

She has apparently removed the Bible and the cross from the chapel. Shortly after she arrived at the cemetery, she shut down the chapel and turned it into a “meeting facility.” It is not the business of the federal government to be engaged in anti-religious activity, especially at what is considered by many to be a religious ceremony—the burial of one of our veterans. The philosophy behind such policies is anti-Christian, anti-religion and anti-American. According to the Constitution, it is the job of the federal government to protect speech and religion, not assail it.

The First Amendment is sacred; funerals are sacred, and when our veterans are buried, that soil becomes sacred. If these allegations are true, the director of the Houston National Cemetery should be terminated. The Houston National Cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of veterans who fought in places all over the world. The government’s attack on the very freedoms that they lived and died for is a blatant violation of the freedom of speech and free exercise of religion promised to all Americans in the Constitution.

UPDATED.  Michael Angley discusses the antecedents

In the case of the Houston cemetery’s bad attitude about faith, there are antecedents in both the civilian community and in the military. For decades, a vocal minority of anti-religious fanatics has taken the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and wrapped it around a lead pipe to beat people of faith into silence and to deny them their free exercise rights. We’re all familiar with the endless efforts by the ACLU to banish any form of religious expression in public schools and in the halls of government. Unfortunately, the military has not been immune from this kind of dysfunctional liberal overreach.
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In 2005, the USAF issued “Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force.” These rules essentially prohibited military chaplains from performing anything but non-denominational prayers outside of a formal chapel service or mass. The problem for Christian chaplains, however, was that their faith required them to pray in the name of Jesus. Soon after, the other services began ramping up their anti-faith policies, and Navy chaplain LT Gordon Klingenschmitt found himself under fire for daring to disobey the ban. His insistence on praying in Jesus’s name resulted in his court-martial and dismissal from the service. Dissuading a Christian chaplain from praying in the name of Jesus is like telling a pilot that he cannot climb into the cockpit and fly the plane
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 6, 2011 8:38 AM | Permalink