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Judge Wants Attorneys to Settle Cemetery Prayer Dispute

HOUSTON (AP) _ A federal judge is asking attorneys for veterans groups and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to settle a lawsuit accusing Houston VA officials of religious discrimination.

Three veterans groups accuse VA officials at Houston National Cemetery of banning the mention of Jesus or God, and censoring their prayers at soldiers’ funerals.

An attorney for the VA insisted there was no such ban on religious words at soldiers’ funerals.

During a hearing Monday on the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes called on both sides to find a solution. But Hughes seemed sympathetic to the veterans groups.

The allegations follow ones made in May by a Houston pastor who sued to be allowed to refer to Jesus Christ at a Memorial Day invocation at the Houston cemetery. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order forbidding VA officials from censoring the pastor’s prayer.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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Posted by on Aug 23 2011. Filed under News.

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