They are ‘standing up for’ a few private groups who like to officially incorporate their Christian prayer and ceremonies at the funerals of military veterans. The problem is, well… there is no problem!
There is no ban of mentioning ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ at funerals for veterans. These outside organizations simply need to ensure that their religious message is actually wanted by the grieving family. But that’s not good enough for them, they want to be entitled to religious ceremony at every funeral by default sans any form of permission.
They literally want to force Christian prayer over my dead body. But even that’s not good enough, they are now going for the jugular.
These groups aren’t being discriminated against in the slightest, they just need to get a form signed. When the Houston National Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio pointed to this fact, the Texas politicians and religious zealots made it their personal mission to get her fired.
The American Family Association (AFA) has also issued a deceptive action alert to their members.
Counter the AFA’s publicity stunt before those dangerous TX politicians start drafting laws around this falsehood. Help us attempt to save this poor woman’s job.
With just 1 minute of your time, you can help us debunk the propaganda and lies about “god” and “jesus” being banned from funerals. This is 100% false, and the zealots are winning the PR game.
- Dept. of Veterans Affairs
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- U.S. House of Representatives
As an American, I am troubled by recent attempts by evangelicals and politicians to circumvent your long-standing policy of not endorsing a particular religion at the funerals of military veterans. The current policy states that all religious veterans are entitled to whatever religious ceremony and prayer that they, or their families request.
Though it may be a sensitive issue for outside religious organizations, they simply must continue to seek this formal request from the veterans. As your department already stated, it's the ethical thing to do. It's also the only way to ensure the balance of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution is precisely what veterans took an oath to protect and defend.
The Houston National Cemetery director Arleen Ocasio deserves commendation and possibly even a promotion. She has demonstrated the courage to enforce necessary policy despite a coordinated smear campaign from massive religious organizations and even politicians. These people are so blinded by their religious zealotry that they are apparently not able to simply ask permission to conduct their religious ceremonies at the funerals of veterans.
Her recent decisions indicate to me she is extremely qualified for her position.
I ask you to first ensure that all those in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs receive training that clearly explains the need to continue the existing policy. All V.A. personnel should understand the importance of forcing third party religious organizations to seek permission before becoming a part of the official funeral service.
Secondly, I ask you to publicly defend Director Ocasio for her excellent defense of your sensible policies, effective immediately. Please stop letting this brave person get dragged through the mud for doing the right thing.
Third, I ask you to call out these deceptive organizations and politicians. The American people deserve the truth, and they aren't getting it.
Justin Griffith started this petition with a single signature, and now has 615 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.