WASHINGTON D.C.óOn Thursday, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) offered two amendments to the Military Construction, Veteran and Related Agencies (MilCon/VA) Appropriations bill, both of which passed the House unanimously by voice vote. The Poe Amendments would protect veterans and their First Amendment rights in light of the censorship of religion and speech that occurred at Houston VA Cemetery last summer when veterans were prohibited from using the word ìGodî in their prayers and bibles were removed from the chapel.
ìI am pleased that my colleagues in the House agree that what happened at Houston VA Cemetery must never happen again,î said Poe.
When I first learned from the VFW last summer that the VA was censoring free speech and preventing the free exercise of religious at the National Cemetery in Houston, I didnít want to believe it. But, it was true. No American should be denied their constitutional rights of speech and religion, especially not our veterans who fought and died for those very freedoms.
Director Ocasioís poor judgment reflects that she not only disregards constitutional liberties, but she does not respect the needs of veterans. Only those who have served and really understand the needs of veterans should be allowed to oversee veteranís cemeteries.î
POE No.4 states: ìNone of the funds made available by this Act may be used to hire a new director of a national cemetery who is not a veteran.î
POE No. 5 states: ìNone of the funds made available by this Act may be used to prohibit a veterans service organization that is participating in a funeral or memorial service of a veteran from reciting any words as part of such service or memorial.î