Rev. Scott Rainey was invited to perform an invocation prayer at a Memorial Day ceremony at the Houston National Ceremony. This would have been the third year in which Rev. Rainey delivered this prayer for this ceremony. This was the first year Rev. Rainey was asked to submit his prayer for review prior to the ceremony.
After reviewing his written prayer, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and cemetery director Arleen Ocasio informed Rev. Rainey he would not be able to mention Jesus in his prayer. According to Ocasio, Rev. Rainey’s prayer was not inclusive enough.
The VA supported their decision on the basis that saying Jesus Christ would likely offend those veterans of different religions. The Liberty Institute filed a federal lawsuit against the VA and petitioned the Court for a temporary restraining order under the premise it is unconstitutional for the government to stifle private speech occurring on public lands.
A federal judge in Texas agreed with the Liberty Institute and informed the VA they could not censor Rev. Rainey’s invocation prayer. U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes wrote “the government cannot gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity.”
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.