There was an interesting letter in the Chronicle yesterday concerning calls from Texas GOP Congressmen Culberson, Olson, Poe and McCaul for the firing of V A Cemetery Director Arleen Ocasio, after Focus on the Family’s Liberty Institute charged her with banning God and Jesus from the cemetery.
“Regarding "Lawmaker says he'll zero out VA official's job" (Page B3, July 21), I am a pastor and a veteran. I've done many funerals at the Veterans Affairs cemetery, and no one has ever tried to censor my speech. That's because when I'm there, the family has invited me. It is their choice to have a religious ceremony.
“Military honors are every veteran's right. They are not in themselves religious. They are meant to be simple and austere — taps, a volley, the silent folding of the flag and its presentation with a standard formula.
“Some veterans groups have their own rituals, but these are not military honors. If someone wants the ceremonies of these groups, they can ask for them. You only get 15 minutes to do a graveside service at a national cemetery. It is not fair to the family or the pastor for any other organization to interject their ceremony unrequested - just do the standard military honors, nothing more.
“Finally, a funeral is not the place for volunteers to inject their own beliefs when these are not requested by the family. The VA is doing the right thing here. Please, leave politics - and politicized religion - out if it.”William J. Cork, Houston