HOUSTON More than 1,000 peopleattended arally Monday to call for the firing of the director of the Houston National Cemetery.
I couldn t believe that they were going to be disrespected in this manner, I just couldn t, said Andrea Prouse of Orange, whose father is buried at the cemetery.
Veterans and clergy showed up at the rally, whichstarted at 10 a.m. at the cemetery. The event, organized by the Houston Area Pastor Council, came days after at least two members of Congress called for the termination of Arleen Ocasio amid allegations of religious censorship.
I am deeply troubled by the allegations that were brought to my attention when I met with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Houston, U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Houston) said last week.
Poe called for Ocasio s firing after several groups in Houston sued the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The lawsuit claims Ocasio told them to stop saying God bless you at the funerals of veterans.
We can t even imagine not being able to pray how we want at a funeral, said Spring resident Lauren Martin , whose husband, Lance Corporal Shane Martin, was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan last July.
Ocasio came under fire in May after a Houston pastor claimed she asked him to edit the words Jesus Christ out of his Memorial Day prayer service.
The federal government changed its position after the pastor sued the Department of Veterans Affairs and a federal judge interceded.
They re experiencing the grief of having to bury a loved one and it s really hard to have to deal with static when they re already dealing with so much negativity, said Trey Gonzales, director of Veterans Funeral Services. I think that there [are] a lot of people upset with the way things have been happening across the street and I think that the change is inevitable and I think it will happen.
Ocasio s staff told KHOU 11 News last week that she was out of the office and unavailable for comment.