Senator asks VA investigation of bias allegations

July 5, 2011 7:47:44 PM PDT
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison asked a Veterans Affairs Secretary Erik Shinseki to investigate allegations of religious discrimination by Houston VA officials.

Several Houston veterans groups have filed a lawsuit accusing officials of banning such religious words as "God" and censoring their prayers at soldiers' funerals.

In a letter to the VA secretary, the Texas Republican says she was "greatly concerned by the complaints." She asserted, "Our veterans swore to uphold the Constitution with their lives, and they and their families religious freedom should be honored, not prohibited."

VA spokesman Josh Taylor says families decide whether a religious service occurs and what type. He says "the name of God or Jesus is not only allowed at burial services, it is common and freely spoken" at national cemeteries nationwide.

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