Tuesday, November 1, 2011

God Allowed Back At Military Funerals

After facing multiple lawsuits, the Obama Department of Veterans Affairs has entered into a consent decree whereby it must abandon its ban on prayers and references to God at funerals conducted at national cemeteries. God and His servants are now allowed back at military funerals.

The atheists and secularists in the Obama administration had drafted an entire funeral manual which specifically took all religious expression out of military funerals, even from a non-military pastor or the fallen warrior's family. Though there had been some confrontations at several national cemeteries nationwide, the real battle to bring back tradition as old as the United States itself took place not a a funeral but at a privately-hosted Memorial Day ceremony on military property. Houston National Cemetery Director Arleen Ocasio told Pastor Scott Rainey that all references to God or Jesus must be stricken from his invocation. Without those, exactly whom or what did Ocasio think Rainey was invoking?

For Rainey, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Ocasio had redesignated the cemetery chapel as a "meeting facility" which she closed to anything but official [secular] business. Since the chapel had first been built, the chapel bells had rung out twice every day, and more often for special occasions. After silencing the bells, Ocasio also removed the Bibles and cross from the chapel. The seating space for congregants, celebrants and mourners was cut drastically as Ocasio filled the back pews with old storage boxes.

Military-related organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion were told that if they provided honor guards at funerals, they must not include prayer or religious speech in the burial rites. The only possible exception was if the family itself submitted the proposed prayer to Ocasio, in advance, for her approval or disapproval. Sounds a lot like freedom of religion in China.

A solemn tradition among those having VFW ceremonies was the gathering of the brass casings from the military salute, placing them in a pouch, and handing the pouch to a family member with the words "I present you with these shell cases from the shots that were fired to honor our departed comrade. We ask that God grant you and your family grace, mercy and peace." Way too much for Ocasio. Banned! As were the place cards from the National Memorial Ladies which read "God bless you." How dare they?

Ocasio and her fellow-travelers claimed that their purpose was not to ban religion but rather to guarantee that the funeral services would be "inclusive." How lame is that? The only people who would be "excluded" would be those who didn't know the fallen warrior or those who had no respect for the deceased's beliefs and family. But even at that, there would be no formal exclusion. It would be self-exclusion. In reality, Jewish people often attend Christian funerals and vice-versa. Catholics attend Protestant funerals, Protestants attend Catholic funerals, and atheists of the non-militant kind attend them all. Somehow, nobody feels "excluded" by the mention of God or Jesus.

So several supporters of religion and ancient tradition filed suit against Ocasio and the Department of Veteran Affairs for interference with freedom of religion and freedom of expression. They also had the support of Texas Republican House Member John Culberson. Earlier, he had attended a veteran's funeral anonymously and quietly, and personally witnessed Ocasio hectoring VFW volunteers, demanding that they comply with her secularist orders or leave. The court granted Pastor Rainey a temporary restraining order, but prior to the court granting a permanent injunction against Ocasio's interference with religious ceremonies, the Department entered into the consent decree.

The Obama administration reluctantly gave up its attack on Christianity (and to a certain extent, Judaism). The chapel has been reopened, the cross has been returned to its rightful place, the bells ring again, and the trash in the back pews has been removed. Memos have gone out to other military districts to cool the censorship. Ocasio is still on the job, but is keeping a low profile. Aside from having her metaphorical teeth handed to her, the arrogant woman has something else to worry about. Rep. Culberson is working behind the scenes to see if he can find a way to reduce her salary to zero.

20 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

This is what comes of voting for leftists like Obama. They want to tell you what you can believe and what you can say in public at every level. I'm glad they gave up on this.

Tennessee Jed said...

this is, of course, a good thing. It just reminds me what asses are in the administrayion right now, and how important it is to send all those bastards back to the private sector.

BevfromNYC said...

How does someone that stupid and insensitive get assigned to oversee a National Cemetary and actually bury soldiers? I guess she is living proof of the oxymoron "Military Intelligence". Wouldn't she be better suited as the head of the motor pool or supply room?

TJ said...

I say bravo to Rep. Culberson! I hope he is successful in getting her removed from that position.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: The extent to which this administration wants to secularize America and replace traditional religious practice with liberal secular religion and the Obama cult of personality is breathtaking. Can you imagine the fun Reagan would have had with any reporter who dared to suggest that he was "like God?" Obama didn't even have the decency to be embarrassed by it.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: Amen. Although except for crony socialism, I don't know how these people survive in the private sector.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Trust me, the military (and particularly the chaplains) were furious. I think the near-open rebellion against the Commander-in-Chief over this was one of the reasons the policy was abandoned without much of a fight after it made its way to court. The few pictures I've seen of her indicate she would be well-suited to digging trenches and setting up latrines.

As for her qualifications, she served for ten years as a VA clerk, contracts administrator, and Hispanic Employment program director in--guess where--Chicago. She was briefly assistant director in San Juan, Puerto Rico before being assigned to the Houston sector. To sum up--she's a community organizer--the best qualification for any Obama appointee.

LawHawkRFD said...

TJ: Old bureaucrats never die, they just get reassigned. I doubt she'll have much authority in the future, and I'm hoping our new president will reassign her to a nice place like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She can administer the mosquitoes. Alternatively, she could be sent to Saudi Arabia where she can tell the Muslims they can't have religious funerals.

T-Rav said...

Grrr.

This whole "inclusiveness" thing--when used in the way Ocasio or whatever her name is and people of like mind are using it, it's flat-out worthless. It doesn't mean anything. Because practically everything is categorized to some extent--not to mention a religion that claims there is only one way to God--and inherently is exclusive on those grounds. People just throw this term around without thinking about it, and I'm sick of hearing about how "inclusive" we need to be.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: As innocent as these clowns try to make "inclusiveness" sound as a goal, it's actually a subset of rabid egalitarianism. Everybody must think the same and act the same or some "victim" will be hurt or offended. It's not about making people feel good, it's about making everybody feel the same. "inclusiveness" is as insidious as dangerous as the other meaningless liberal buzz word "diversity." The irony is that they promote diametrically opposite concepts. So they bundle them under the major topic "tolerance," a virtue which they don't practice.

BevfromNYC said...

And furthermore, if there is no mention of God or "god" at a funeral, then what is the POINT of a funeral? why not just ground 'em up and spread 'em on the WH lawn for fertilizer. Just on it's face, funerals are one the most sacred of religious rites...'cause it's the last one you get!

Why does "inclusiveness" always mean "excluding ALL religions"? This is not new...a few years ago I was asked to put together a choral group at work for our "Holiday Party". That was my first experience in the liberal world of "inclusion" and "not offending non Christians" at Christmas... It was idiotic and I told them so. I won.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: Absolutely right. The invocation part of a religious service specifically means invoking the mercy and assistance of the Supreme Being. And it was the invocation that Pastor Rainey was told to censor and remove any references to God or Jesus. Maybe he was supposed to invoke Gaea, the only deity the left worships other than The One himself.

Good for you on the Christmas thing. I had enough Jewish friends when I was younger that we tended to have joint Christmas and Hanukkah parties. We never considered calling it a "holiday party," and our atheist friends always came and had just as much fun as we did.

Joel Farnham said...

Wow. Ocasio has an hatred for religion! She wasn't picked by accident. Obama knew that she would do anything and everything to offend Christians. This is just another example of how much hatred Obama and his cronies have for Christians. The only other people who have this much hatred for Christians are Muslims.

Obama has done much to advance the cause of Islam.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: What amazes me is how he and his cronies appoint these people, thinking they'll do their nefarious work and we won't notice. She only went after Christian memorials as far as I know. Whether she would have done the same thing to a Muslim ceremony is anybody's guess. My guess is she wouldn't because she knows it wouldn't be the courts they use to exact revenge.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

My guess is she wouldn't go after the Muslim ones because she supports them. Her actions are consistent with Muslim actions across the globe.

I am surprised she didn't install urinals in the Chapel. Or make it into a shrine celebrating Obama.

I hope Culberson has great luck in shrinking her paycheck to zero.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: The impression that I get of her from what little I can find about her is that she's just anti-religion, and has a particular dislike for Christianity. Unlike Obama, I think she probably doesn't like Islam either. If her pictures are any indication, she belongs to a group that Muslims don't have a particular fondness for.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, I've often thought of pointing that out, but as you note, it would probably just drive liberals to start greeting people with "Happy Winter!" or something.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: These people are really good at mangling language and meaning in order to serve their pagan/atheist/secular agenda. They even went at Halloween for awhile even though it's not a religious holiday for most people and hasn't been for decades. But "All Hallows Eve" might not be inclusive for some people, don't ya know.

patti said...

Let's imagine for a moment that this was an attack on Islam.

Silly girl, what am I saying?! THAT would NEVER happen. Afterall, this admin is going after its enemies, not its allies...

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Ain't that the truth! They also know that angry Christians aren't going to behead the local director if he or she interferes with their funeral services.

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