Lawmakers want to end censorship of word God at cemetery

June 30, 2011 5:51:47 PM PDT
We have an update to the fight over saying God and Jesus at Houston National Cemetery.

Texas Congressman Ted Poe wants the head of the cemetery fired for what he calls aggressive, hostile censorship of religion. Veterans' groups and local clergy say Cemetery Director Arlene Ocasio told them they could not use the words God and Jesus during funerals at the cemetery.

A local pastor went to federal court so he could say Jesus Christ during a Memorial Day event at the cemetery.

Another Congressman wants action over this issue.

"It's shocking and really abhorrent to our veterans that they can't have a proper military burial and not refer to God or Jesus Christ and have the chapel at the military cemetery shut down. To me its very shocking. I think it does cry for action," said Congressman Michael McCaul.

The Veterans Administration said its policy bars VA-sponsored honor guards from making recitations at funerals unless requested by the deceased's survivors.

In a statement issued to Eyewitness News, the VA Press Secretary Josh Taylor said:

"Invoking the name of God or Jesus is not only allowed, it is common at VA National Cemeteries across the country. However, VA's policy is that VA-sponsored honor guards should not make recitations at committal services unless requested to do so by the deceased's survivor(s)."

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