Religious liberty and our First Amendment rights are constantly under attack- but generally only if you are a Christian. If you are anything else, you are celebrated, respected, and promoted. Here is another example of Christianity under fire that comes directly out of Houston, Texas. Thankfully, this pastor isn’t taking it sitting down! (Update at the bottom)
We’ve heard about it in other parts of the world; even in other states, but now it’s come right here to Harris County Texas; the wild-eyed left refusing to let a local Pastor pray according to his faith.
Respected Houston Pastor Scott Rainey, who has delivered invocations before the Texas State House of Representatives, the Harris County Commissioners Court, and for the past two years, at the Houston National Cemetery’s Memorial Day Ceremony, was denied the permission to pray according to his faith.
During each invocation (including the past two at the Houston National Cemetery), Pastor Rainey has ended his prayer, as he believes he is instructed to do by his faith, by praying in Jesus’ name. This year, for the first time Pastor Rainey was asked to submit his prayer before the ceremony (click here to read prayer). Subsequently, Ms. Arleen Ocasio (Director, Houston National Cemetery) gave Pastor Rainey an unconstitutional demand to edit his prayer to be more “inclusive.”
Upon this outrageous request, noted defender of religious freedom, the Liberty Institute, filed a brief with the VA (click here for brief) demanding that this unconstitutional position be reversed. As of yesterday evening, Obama’s Veteran Affairs department has refused to rescind the decision.
This gained attention very quickly and an update recently came through:
A federal judge slapped down the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday, saying it can’t stop a pastor from using the words “Jesus Christ” in his Memorial Day invocation at Houston National Cemetery.
“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,” U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes wrote in his order, granting the Rev. Scott Rainey’s motion for the court to intercede. “The right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants.”
Rainey, lead pastor at the Living Word Church of the Nazarene, asked Hughes to prevent the cemetery’s caretaker, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, from telling him what he can say in a prayer on Memorial Day after the agency asked him for the first time to submit the prayer for review.
“I was shocked,” Rainey said. “I’ve heard of this happening in other states and other locations.”
Many of you may like to express your outrage that faith would be under such assault in America. If so, you may respectfully express your opinion and a reminder of our religious liberty directly to Arleen Ocasio at 281-447-8686 (extension 206) and e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .