VA Reaches Settlement in Faith Discrimination Case

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit.

Several veterans groups sued the VA for allegedly banning the use of religious speech during services at the Houston National Cemetery. 

Nobleton Jones, a member of the VFW Honor Guard at Houston National Cemetery, said he was one of the individuals who had been censored.

"On March the 15th, she [Ocasio] said I could not say, 'We wish you and your family, that God grant you and your family grace, mercy and peace,'" Jones told a reporter.

"It made me feel small," he said. "I spent my time in the military fighting so they would have the right to say that."
    
Under the settlement, the VA promised the following:

  • Not to interfere with prayers during burial services
         
  • Not to edit or control the speeches of speakers at ceremonies or events at the cemetery
        
  • Not to ban religious speech or words like "God" or "Jesus" in condolence cards

The VA also agreed to pay the veterans groups' $215,000 in legal fees.

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