NYT Debunks Latest Wingnut Freakout

The New York Times has an article that debunks the recent religious right freakout over a military cemetery “banning” prayers and religious talk at military funerals. In fact, all they did was say that outside groups could not provide religious rituals at a military funeral unless the family of the deceased requests it. A group in Texas has filed a lawsuit over it.

The plaintiffs, aided by a conservative legal group, the Liberty Institute, contend they should be allowed to use a Veterans of Foreign Wars script dating from World War I that refers to the deceased as “a brave man” with an “abiding faith in God” and that seeks comfort from an “almighty and merciful God.” The institute has publicized the dispute nationwide with slick videos and a Web site declaring that “Jesus is not welcome at gravesides.”

And they can use it if the family wants it.

“In all these years, we’ve not had one complaint,” said Inge Conley, a retired Army master sergeant who is commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, District 4, one of the plaintiffs.

Great. Then people will request it when they want it. But you don’t get to impose that on families that don’t want it. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Department of Veterans Affairs officials say that the original policy, enacted under President George W. Bush, resulted from complaints about religious words or icons being inserted unrequested into veterans’ funerals. They noted that active-duty military honor guards, including the teams that do funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, say almost nothing during their ceremonies.

“We do what the families wish,” said Steve L. Muro, the under secretary for memorial affairs. “I always tell my employees we have just one chance to get it right.”

Though two of the largest veterans organizations, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, have criticized the Houston National Cemetery, some veterans’ advocates have risen to the department’s support. Those advocates say that families who want prayers can have them and assert that the Liberty Institute has blown the dispute out of proportion to embarrass the Obama administration.

A religious right group making fake claims of persecution for political gain? Wow, how shocking.


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  • fastlane

    Hard to believe, isn’t it? I wonder if they waited this long simply because they can now blame Obama for it, or if it took this long for the policy to be actually used by a family who wanted to keep the godbotherers away from a funeral.

  • preston

    Please add my name to the list of veterans supporting the decision.

    I think the VFW and the American Legion will come around.

    People who genuinely focused on the needs of the bereaved should have no problem at all with the ruling.

    Those who do not can stand outside the cemetery waving signs with the rest of the ghouls.

  • John Hinkle

    Ah, nothing like unwelcome god bothering to change a mourner’s anguish and grief into anger and hatred.

    Who’s the leader of the suing organizations, Darth Vader?

  • twincats

    The American Legion can bite me.

    Why? I am a veteran of 8 years in the USAF and I used my VA loan to purchase my home. If you have a home loan, you know how many mailing lists you find yourself on as a result but somehow, my husband is the recipient of dozens of offers from the American Legion for refinancing our home loan because, of course, there are no female vets. Or something.

    Plus, you have to join their exclusive ranks for $25 a year (but no proof of service required that I could see.)


  • magistramarla


    I understand what you are talking about. My husband had me to send in the $25 to the American Legion so that we could compare their benefits with our AARP benefits. (He’s spent 30 years working for the AF – active duty, reserves and gov. service).

    I decided that we would NOT renew the American Legion membership when I read the first publication that they sent. In it, they pledged to their membership that they would work to repeal what they called “Obamacare” and to support DOMA. They are clearly a mouthpiece for the GOTP, and we will never again give them any funds or support.

  • Twincats,

    That happens to me, too. The VA loan is in my name, and all of the VA loan refinancing junk mail comes to my husband (who never served).

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Why is this so difficult to understand?

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salaryeternal soul depends upon his not understanding it.

  • Tsu Dho Nimh

    The American Legion? Those idiots sent a membership offer to my cat!

  • Aquaria

    I had the same problem with the American Legion and assorted other fuckfaced private groups who think that women don’t serve.


    And I mail it back.

    Fuck those putos.

  • ehmm

    This reminds me of a super-caps-lock email I received recently that claimed the ACLU was attempting to have religious headstones removed from the graves of military dead. I sent a response email showing how this claim had been debunked, with no commentary at all, just a link. The sender got pissed at me, saying he didn’t want to be corrected, didn’t care what the ACLU did-or-didn’t-do and that the email was mainly a message of good will for the troops. This was an incredible lie to tell as there is only the briefest mention of “support the troops’ at the beginning & end of the email. He also broadcast his lie by cc’ing the entire distribution.

    I chose not to respond because:

    A) Any reasonable person who saw the email chain would immediately know what was going on, and would require no further comment from me.

    B) Anyone who didn’t, including the original sender, would be a tedious waste of my time.

    C) the original sender, while not exactly my boss, was above me in the company’s org chart and most of the people in the distribution tilted Republican. Pressing it further could have been a career limiting move.

  • dochopper

    fastlane says:

    September 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Hard to believe, isn’t it? I wonder if they waited this long simply because they can now blame Obama for it, or if it took this long for the policy to be actually used by a family who wanted to keep the godbotherers away from a funeral.

    A freaking land mine just waiting to go off .