Houston minister sues VA over Memorial Day prayer

May 26, 2011 - 7:27 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston minister has sued the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to be allowed to refer to Jesus Christ in a Memorial Day invocation at Houston National Cemetery.

The Rev. Scott Rainey is lead pastor at the Living Word Church of the Nazarene in Houston. The Houston Chronicle reports he has invoked the name of Jesus Christ in invocations at the cemetery each of the last two Memorial Days without complaint.

A month ago, however, cemetery officials directed him to edit the prayer to make it "inclusive of all beliefs," ''general" and "non-denominational." Rainey sued to keep the VA from censoring his prayer.

In a statement, cemetery director Arleen Ocasio said the VA "cannot be exclusive at a ceremony meant to be inclusive for all our nation's veterans."