U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes told the department it was “forbidden from dictating the content of speeches – whether those speeches are denominated prayers or otherwise – at the Memorial Day ceremony of National Cemetery Council for Greater Houston.”
“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,” the judge wrote. “The right of free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rants.”
“The Constitution does not confide to the government the authority to compel emptiness in a prayer, where a prayer belongs,” he said. “The gray mandarins of the national government are decreeing how citizens honor their veterans. This is not a pick-up-your-trash sign; this is a we-pick-your-words sign.”
Thankfully the Judge seems to have exercised that rare commodity these days, common sense. One hopes, but has no great expectation, that the Director of the Committee, Ms Arleen Ocasio and the Director of the Veterans Affairs wil reconsider their positions. Unfortunately, I suspect that next year they will simply invite someone else, willing to obey their dictats.