VFW Joins in Houston National Cemetery Censorship Lawsuit
“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…
July 01, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 1, 2011 - The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is appalled over allegations of religious censorship at one of the nation’s national cemeteries, calling it a case of “bureaucracy running amok.”
“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…or rather, a classic example of a bureaucrat running amok. In spite of VA policy, the cemetery director is making up her own rules and has imposed hurtful, unilateral restrictions of her own choosing,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.
Texas-based Liberty Institute has filed suit on behalf of the VFW, American Legion, and The National Memorial Ladies over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship by the VA and its director of the Houston National Cemetery. "They've told the VFW and the American Legion that they cannot have prayer during the burial services of our veterans, unless the family requests it in writing and submits the prayer for pre-approval," said Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer.
The VA, meanwhile, insists its national cemeteries welcome appropriate religious recitations. The "VA values and respects every veteran and their family's right to a burial service that honors their faith tradition," said Keith Ethridge, director of VA's National Chaplain Center. The Houston cemetery superintendent has declined to speak to the media despite numerous requests.
“Generations of patriotic Americans have fought, bled and died to help defend the U.S. Constitution –that great document provides and guarantees fundamental rights of religious expression and freedom of speech. Those basic tenets are clearly being violated at the cemetery and that simply cannot be tolerated," concluded Eubank.
Read more about the lawsuit here.
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