VA Groups And Houston National Cemetery Settle Prayer Dispute

Several veterans groups have agreed to settle their lawsuit against the Houston National Cemetery.

The legal fight involved several families who said cemetery officials did not allow them to use religious words such as “God” or “Jesus” during their loved ones’ funerals.  

For roughly 30 years, members of the clergy have offered prayers during a Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery. Pastor Scott Rainey said he was asked to submit his prayer in advance of a service on Memorial Day.  

Rainey’s prayer read: “While respecting people of every faith today, it is in the name of Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, that I pray. Amen.”  

A few hours after Rainey turned his prayer in he was given a response from cemetery director Arleen Ocasio. “While it is very well written I must ask you to edit it,” she wrote. “The tone must be inclusive of all beliefs and non-denominational in nature.”

Rainey said the cemetery’s request violated his right of free speech. Court documents show both sides have agreed to settle the matter out of court.