A Houston pastor got to pray in the name of Jesus at a Memorial Day event in Houston, fulfilling a wish that took a lawsuit and a federal judge to make happen.
Scott Rainey, lead pastor at the Living Word Church of the Nazarene, prayed Monday morning at the Houston National Cemetery invoking the name of Jesus Christ. He was able to recite his prayer in full during the ceremony to honor fallen U.S. soldiers.
“While respecting the people of every faith today, it is the name of Jesus Christ the risen Lord that I pray, amen,” said Rainey, according to Fox News Houston.
Ahead of the event, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, after reviewing a copy of the prayer, told Rainey to remove the “Jesus” part or the prayer will not be allowed. But the local pastor insisted that his prayer reference Jesus.
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes ruled in Rainey’s favor and wrote in his three-page order: “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 right to free expression ranges from the dignity of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches to Charlie Sheen’s rant,” the judge ruled.
Rainey had argued that the government was unconstitutionally censoring his speech and engaging in religious viewpoint discrimination.
Manuel Asevedo, an attendee of the Memorial Day event, said, “I’m glad he kept it in, at least,” according to Fox.
“They should have never done that or even tried to.”
Meanwhile, veteran Charles Bradley, commented, “I just say, ‘what is next?’ Removing the crosses from the graves or the headstones?”
“I don’t know how far they’re wanting to go with this, so I’m glad that it was reinstated."
This is the third year that the National Cemetery Council for Greater Houston has invited Rainey to give the invocation at the event.