The Department of Veterans Affairs and its Director of the Houston National Cemetery, Arleen Ocasio, are engaging in religious viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by adding new incidents of religious hostility.
Since taking the directorship of the Houston facility in April, 2010, Arleen Ocasio has used her position to bully Christians, repeatedly trampling on the religious liberties of Veterans of Foreign Wars District 4, The American Legion Post 586, and the National Memorial Ladies.
On March 15, Director Ocasio told Jones, Honor Guard Junior Vice Commander, that he couldn't say "May God grant you grace, mercy and peace" to grieving families.
"The hostile and discriminatory actions by the Veterans Affairs officials in Houston are outrageous, unconstitutional and must stop," said Jeff Mateer, Esq., general counsel of Liberty Institute. "Government officials who engage in religious discrimination against citizens are breaking the law. Sadly, this seems to be a pattern of behavior at the Houston VA National Cemetery."
Our friends at Liberty Institute have amended an earlier lawsuit against the VA that states the new violations against religious liberty include:
• VA Forbids Mention of God at Funerals for Veterans and Requires Families to Submit Prayer for Approval to the Government
• VA instructs the VFW and a Private Funeral Home that they may not present the option of prayer to families
• VA Tells Volunteers to Remove "God Bless" from Condolence Cards to Grieving Families
• VA Closes Cemetery Chapel; Uses it for Storage
You can read Liberty Institute's detailed report of Director Ocasio's offenses here.
Director Ocasio has already been successfully sued this year for religious discrimination. Obviously, she is not qualified to be the director of a National Cemetery and should step down.
Send an email to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki. Ask him to 1) stop his department's religious discrimination and 2) relieve Director Ocasio of her duties.