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An ugly fight over what prayers can be said, and by whom, at Houston’s national cemetery, is getting uglier. Plaintiffs are now suing the Department of Veterans’ Affairs over what they call “banning God at military funerals” and for making “Jesus unwelcome at gravesides” of fallen veterans. That simply isn’t true.
And while as VA officials say, they simply want families to decide the nature of their loved one’s funeral service, including the words which are said, those same officials could be more sensitive to the religious sensibilities of many of their clients.
Not only is the suit unnecessary, it is part of a well-established national trend that wastes an enormous amount of money. According to the Manhattan Institute, The United States struggles with a uniquely costly civil justice system. The direct costs of tort litigation, in particular, reached $247 billion in 2006, more than what Americans spend every year on new automobiles!
That God is being used to fuel that kind of needless fighting and wasteful spending should disturb all of us, especially people of faith. Religious people should be at the forefront of working problems out, not exacerbating them. They should be taking the lead in using conversation, not leaping at every opportunity for increased litigation.
Win or lose, the plaintiffs in this case are using personal pain to score political points, which is certainly as bad as VA officials lamely hiding behind words like “inclusive” and “respecting families’ wishes”. Litigating God is rarely a good idea, and in this case it’s both costly and foolish.