No, The Obama Administration Didn’t Ban The Word ‘God’

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) has an overactive imagination. He’s convinced that the Obama Administration somehow managed to ban references to God from military funerals in Houston:

A Texas lawmaker is calling for a Congressional investigation of the Houston National Cemetery after he went undercover and determined that cemetery officials are still preventing Christian prayers at the funerals of military veterans.

The Obama administration continues to try to prevent the word ‘God’ from being used at the funerals of our heroes,” said. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX). “It’s unacceptable and I’m going to put a stop to it as fast as humanly possible.”

Culberson told Fox News Radio he attended a burial service at the cemetery under cover on July 8 where he said volunteer members of the honor guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars were prohibited from using any references to God.

Culberson’s allegations echo a lawsuit that various veterans groups filed claiming that they were somehow prevented from even saying the word “God” while participating in military funerals. There’s only one problem with these claims — they have no basis in reality.

The allegations claim that a low-level Veterans Affairs official, veterans cemetery director Arleen Ocasio, specifically instructed volunteers employed by the VA not to mention God or otherwise engage in religious speech during a funeral without her approval. In reality, Ocasio said nothing of the sort:

Ocasio has never told anyone that the VFW District 4 honor guards were prohibited from including prayer or religious speech in its ritual unless families submit the prayer or religious speech to her in writing prior to the committal services. […] Ocasio told the VA Voluntary Services trainees that they needed to ensure that their military funeral honors were reflective of the desires of the families of the Veterans being honored, that there is no “do over” for a committal service, and that no Veteran’s family should ever leave offended or unhappy with the services provided by the Cemetery staff or the registered VA volunteers.

In other words, the administration takes the radical position that military funerals should reflect the wishes of the families of the deceased. If a family wants a religious ceremony, then they should have one. But it is not the job of government workers — even those working on a volunteer basis — to decide for military families how their loved ones should be honored.

Culberson’s attempt to politicize these funerals is nothing sort of disgusting, and doubly so because his allegations lack any basis in fact.