On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Judge tells feds they can’t dictate how we pray

A federal judge has told federal veterans officials that they have no business telling anybody how to pray – and must drop their ban on prayers that conclude “in Jesus’ name.”

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes told the director of the Houston National Cemetery and Department of Veterans Affairs officials that they could not block Houston pastor Scott Rainey from invoking the name of Jesus Christ in a Memorial Day prayer.


Rainey sought a restraining order against federal officials after he was given guidelines about how he could pray, according to Houston radio station KHOU.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes said, according to CNN, that the government cannot “gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity.”

Pastor Rainey had offered an invocation during Memorial Day ceremonies at Houston cemetery for several years. This year, however, cemetery director Arleen Ocasio informed Raney that she wanted to see a copy of the prayer ahead of time. Rainey’s prayer included the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and thanked Jesus in closing. Ocasio returned the prayer to Rainey, saying it was inappropriate.


“While it is very well written, I must ask you to edit it,” Ocasio informed him. “The tone of all messages must be inclusive of all beliefs, need to be general and its fundamental purpose should be specific to those we are honoring, and non-denominational in nature.”

She informed Rainey that if he wanted to give the invocation, he would have to comply.

“I’ve never said a prayer in my life that didn’t end with Jesus Christ,” Rainey said. “It was unrealistic expectation for me not to include the name of Jesus Christ.”

So, he sought an injunction against the agency, claiming the government was censoring his speech. He asked the federal court to stop officials from dictating how he could pray.


According to United Press International, Rainey argued in the federal hearing that how he prays is protected by the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech. The federal judge agreed with him.

Hours after the judge sided with him, the government backed off. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Hindrichs assured Judge Hughes verbally that veterans officials “will not demand that Memorial Day prayers at Houston National Cemetery be as non-denominational as possible,” reported Terri Langford in the Houston Chronicle.

“The agency will let the prayer go on,” Hindrichs told the judge.

Nevertheless, Federal Judge Hughes granted the temporary restraining order. Hughes said that while he was not doubting the government’s word, he was “an experienced optimist” who didn’t want to leave room for the government to change its mind before the Memorial Day ceremony.


The judge warned the agency it had stepped too far, saying officials were essentially “decreeing how citizens honor their veterans.”

Attorney Jeff Mateer who represented Pastor Rainey, applauded the ruling.

“The judge rightly and strongly ruled that the VA’s attempt to censor Pastor Rainey’s prayer violates the Constitution and dishonors the veterans Memorial Day is meant to honor,” he said. “We are glad that the government conceded that its position against Pastor Rainey’s prayer is wrong.’

Pastor Rainey said that while he was disappointed that it took legal action to enforce his position, “I am glad that the judge agreed that removing Jesus’ name from my prayer is unconstitutional. I am honored to be allowed to pray in the name of Jesus at this somber remembrance of our nation’s fallen.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Patsy

    Good job Pastor Rainey. This country is in for a serious shake up.

  • http://thankyouforusinggodinourprayers cheryl bailey

    thank you for useing god in our prayers can we say merry christmas again please

  • http://thankyouforusinggodinourprayers cheryl bailey

    thank you for standing up for god

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Barbara Kidwell

    Certain people in the federal goverment think they can push us around, and do. Thank goodness Pastor Rainey took them to task, and thank the Lord the federal Judge was a Christian and backed him up. His decision put her in her place and hopefully her job on the line. She doesn’t need to be making any decisions regarding our Veterians.

  • David

    Hi Christians all over – Why are you experiencing these forms of “”BAN”” It is very simple – Christians in American have allowed many other nations that are not christians to come into their midst. These immigrants have grown big and in a mass and today is starting to “push” and exert their ‘influences’ into Christian American Lives.

    Look American Christians “”YOU”” have to start to take back what you have so generously given out – to no thank yous or gratitude from these immigrants — And who are these — The Muslims from the Middle East, Indian, Paskistan, Bangaladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia Frence, England, Germany Turkey, Iran Irag etc these muslims come in and build their mosques and to day, these muslim/islamist terrorist start to ditate to American what Christian American can do in your own Homes – Imagine what will your American Christian become in a few years time down the road?????

    It is time to wake up All American Christians – Christian America is for Christians and not Arabs, Indians, Pakistian, Muslim English Muslim Germany Muslim French etc.
    Wake up Christians in American, may one day cannot use the Bible in YOUR CHURCH – now that these muslim have started to change your american laws into their own colour coded law from their Holy Koran.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pamela alewine

    Hurrah for a judge that will stand up to the government!! Our nation is One Nation Under God! And we should have prayer back in schools and every place!!This is supposed to be a free country but we are letting are freedoms being taken away a little at a time!


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Chuck Edwards Sr.

    Pastor Rainey is a just and honorable Christian who stands up for his God. I applaud him and thank God for him.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment RareJewelofChrist

    I am glad for Pastor Rainey and he has truly proven whose side he is on-Jesus Christ-the best and right side. Jesus said that we would be persecuted for his name sake. This world is coming to an end guys? What to you expecte? Matthew 24, the entire book of the Revelations, and I Thessolonians 4 is giving clear cut facts about what is going to happen during the end times. They are here-now! Things are not going to get better. They are going to get worse. This is the time where all people are going to have to make a choice and a stand. It will either be for Christ, or for this world. Woe unto those that choose this world. It is going to be destroyed. Many are still asking where is Jesus? He did not give anyone any specific day are time when he is returning. He does say to be ready. Every day we wake up, we need to be on our knees asking for forgiveness so that we will be right when he comes. Everybody thought Noah was crazy too. Look at what happpened!

  • http://HowSadithascometothis! Jim

    This is the moment God the Father is giving Christians to say, “will you stand for Jesus”. And how profoundly sad we have let it come to this.

    God has so richly blessed the U.S. and we have squandered the opportunity. 50 years ago this would never have been an issue.

    Forgive us Father, and pour out your Spirit to revive us and take back this blessed land You gave us. Help us to not compromise Your Word, Your standards, and still love others as Jesus did, with meekness, not weakness.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dan Talbot

    Our government under the heathen scoundrel Obama and his dullard community-organizing “social-justice seeking” commie friends has overstepped. The pastor won. Bureacratic paper-brained dufuses and puddin’-heads should hang their heads in embarrassent (if they had either shame or brains).

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