Houston National Cemetery: God Not Welcome

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Yet another demonstration of the fundamental hostility to Christianity that lurks barely beneath the surface in the Obama administration:

Local veterans and volunteer groups accuse Department of Veterans Affairs officials of censoring religious speech — including the word “God” – at Houston National Cemetery.

In one example cited in documents filed this week in federal court, cemetery director Arleen Ocasio reportedly told volunteers with the National Memorial Ladies that they had to stop telling families “God bless you” at funerals and that they had to remove the words “God bless” from condolence cards.

“It’s just unfair that somebody would ask us to take God out of our vocabulary,” said Cheryl Whitfield, founder of Houston National Memorial Ladies.

“I could’ve kept my mouth shut and let things happen, but when it comes to standing up for your belief in God and giving comfort to the families, I don’t want to regret not saying anything,” Whitfield said. “We all had to stand up for what we believe in.”

The new allegations of “religious hostility” by VA and cemetery officials follow on the heels of a controversy over Pastor Scott Rainey’s prayer in Jesus’ name at a Memorial Day service in the cemetery.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled May 26 that the government couldn’t stop Rainey from using the words “Jesus Christ” in his invocation. Hughes issued a temporary restraining order to prevent VA from censoring Rainey’s prayer.

Go here to read the rest at the Houston Chronicle.   Let us be clear on a few points.  There are powerful forces in the Obama administration who despise Christianity and are very unclear on the concept of freedom of religion as practiced in this country for over 200 years.  If you are a believing Christian they regard you as an idiot and they will do everything in their power to drive what they perceive as your silly superstition from the public square.   This country has never had an administration as hostile to the faith of the majority of Americans as this one, and they assume that they can take these slaps at Christianity because Christians are too supine to do anything about it.  Time will tell if they are right in that assumption. 

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  1. It appears the locus of this is Arlene Ocasio, the cemetary director, and that the attorney for the VA is pleading ignorance in the service of public relations. It would be interesting to know whether or not that position is a civil service position, and whether Ocasio is a member of the permanent government doing what she pleases now that the constellation of her superiors has changed or whether she is someone who got the position by being well-connected in the Democratic Party.

  2. I have seen her referred to in news stories Art as an Obama appointee, although I have been unable to verify it as yet. I have done a brief internet search but thus far I have been unable to uncover anything about her other than this present controversy.

  3. “Interesting that she has a Chicago connection.”

    Don’t both Obama and “Blago” also have a Chicago connection?

    “Yet another demonstration of the fundamental hostility to Christianity that lurks barely beneath the surface in the Obama administration.”

    Regardless of his claim to be a Christian, by his actions Obama demonstrates his anti-Christian bias.

    I do NOT suggest that Obama is THE anti-christ (I don’t think he is that smart), but at the risk of being reprimanded, I think that the words of 1st John 2:18-19 certainly seem to apply.

    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.”

    I have never seen anything like this: open sanctification of of homosexual activity as “marriage” by a “Catholic” governor (Andy Cuomo), murder of tens of millions of babies (again aided and abetted by “Catholic” politicians), open pornography as free speech while Christian free speech is stifled, etc. So yes, I do think these are (in a sense) the “Last Days.” Perhaps that means these are the “Last Days” for America (I hope not). Perhaps that means that the Lord will soon return (we should all hope for that). While it’s utterly depressing to view these events, they are but part of Satan’s last gasp for (as Scripture says) he knows that his time is growing short. We know the end of the story (Satan loses/ Christ wins), so we have to keep our eyes on Christ, the “author and perfector of our Faith” (as said elsewhere in Scriputre).

  4. The cemetary director has been a federal employee for 27 years (most with the National Cemetary Administration) and has been the superintendant of other national cemetaries. The undersecretary responsible for that component of the department is also a career man employed by the National Cemetary Administration for decades. The secretary is a career soldier who served as Army Chief of Staff under the 2d President Bush. The biography of the general-counsel to the Department of Veterans Affairs is here


    None of these folk sound like promising material for the ranks of the world’s officious secularists. Curiouser and curiouser.

  5. Ya think? I dunno. I tend to doubt even a notorious micromanager like Jimmy Carter rationed his attention in such a way that the ceremonial regulations at national cemetaries was something he gave much thought to, and Obama is not a detail man. Given that it appears local to Houston, I would speculate that the cemetary director asked for a legal opinion on a tangential matter and was advised by a junior lawyer in the counsel’s office that she must forbid funerals with a religious component. It looks from the news story that the counsel for the agency tasked with defending it in this suit was behaving as if there were things he would rather not know.

  6. No, I think this clearly came from higher up Art. Probably not directly Obama, but high up the food chain of the VA. A career bureaucrat will not usually risk his or her job for anyone or anything. Only an exceedingly stupid bureaucrat would fail to recognize that these policies would ignite a firestorm, especially the attempt to censor the Memorial Day prayer. That is why I suspect the head of the Houston National Cemetery was only following orders. Considering that the Ag department considers one of its prime goals to be the promotion of gay rights, nothing that this administration would do would surprise me.

  7. “Considering that the Ag department considers one of its prime goals to be the promotion of gay rights, nothing that this administration would do would surprise me.”

    The goal is evil. The Administration considers that a prime goal. The Administration supports evil.

    It is difficult to be level-headed and dispassionate in situations like this where common sense, morality and the foundation of society (i.e., the family) are being turned on their heads. That causes me to agree that nothing this Administration would do to advance evil is a cause for surprise.

    Now I did NOT say “this man in the Administration is evil” or “that man is evil” (though truth be said I do think it). I did not make a verbal judgment above as to the condition of the souls of the persons who openly and unabashly support such evil. But Jesus did say, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” And we have no one to blame for all these things but ourselves as Catholics. We are reaping the whirlwind that we have sown for the past 40+ years. When instead of adhering to what the actual documents of Vatican II said, we adopted a false spirit of “inclusivity” and “tolerance” of sinful behavior, falsely fearing that to admonish the sinner is to demonstrate hate.

    There will come a time when to own a Bible with Romans 1:18-32 written as it has been written for close to 2000 years will be considered a hate-crime offense worthy of jail or worse. Christians will be martyred as unborn babies are now murdered and as Hitler murdered Jews in the 1930s and 40s. History teaches that this is what happens when evil is tolerated.

    I forgot – Christians ARE being martyred in the Middle East and elsewhere right now. I should have said that that will be the practice in an America overrun by liberal democracy (i.e., two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner).

    Maranatha, Domine Iesu, veni celeriter!

  8. No, I think this clearly came from higher up Art. Probably not directly Obama, but high up the food chain of the VA. A career bureaucrat will not usually risk his or her job for anyone or anything.

    There are over 80 national cemeteries, but thus far we only hear complaints about the Houston cemetery. Unless she was instructed to attempt a trial balloon, I would tend to think discontent would be more widespread if this were general policy.

  9. How utterly ridiculous! Even bin Laden got a Muslim ceremony before burial at sea. And to show how stupid this rule is, what if an atheist wanted this statement read at his burial “Even though I did not believe in GOD or JESUS, I led a good life.” Wouldn’t that be going against the last wishes of that person?
    But this country is so backwards. Example-those who drink/produce raw milk are considered more dangerous than meth labs and other dangerous drugs. Do a google search on raw milk raids and you will see how upside down our country has become when guns are drawn on innocent citizens while real criminals run loose.

  10. javascript:grin(‘:cry:’) This is not secular leveling. This is communism. To take over a country you destroy their history, take over their education and remove God from the public sector. There are Christians in this country who are still oblivious to the religious persecution Christians are suffering. Any other religion is ignored or protected. It is the Christian faith that has been in the cross-hairs of the left for many years now. Christians have sat out this onslaught for too long. Perhaps this Nat’l. Cemetery issue is a good thing in that it screams at the Christian deaf to finally pay attention!

  11. What is most disappointing , is the apparently lack of public comment from our Catholic leadership. I have read many items, but so far, I have not seen, or read anything which would reflect an official position by the Archdiocese of Houston. However, there are numerous public comments by other faiths.

    Even if the story is not true, there should be some guidance to correct the story as it now exists..

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