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McDonnell asked to lift a ban on State Police troopers referring to Jesus in public prayers

Anita Kumar

Activists across the state are asking Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to reverse a policy that bans Virginia State Police troopers from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers.

Donald Blake, president of Virginia Christian Alliance, said he spoke to McDonnell about the change at a recent fundraiser at the governor's mansion and at a private meeting with McDonnell's chief of staff Martin Kent.

"It is important to a lot of people of faith in Virginia,'' Blake said. "When you change tradition it bothers a lot of people."

Other groups, including the Family Foundation of Virginia, also support a change and have been lobbying for one. The governor's office has received a handful of letters, faxes and emails in support of a reversal.

In September 2008, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the State Police superintendent, told chaplains to offer nondenominational prayers at department-sanctioned public events in response to a recent federal appeals court ruling that a Fredericksburg City Council member may not pray "in Jesus's name" during council meetings because the opening invocation is government speech.

Then-Gov. Tim Kaine (D) was not involved in Flaherty's decision, but said at the time that he supported it. Legislators considered -- but killed -- bills to change the policy in 2009 and 2010.

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By Anita Kumar  |  April 26, 2010; 2:07 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2009 , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate , Timothy M. Kaine  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Jesus, Virginia State Police  
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Comments

Here we go.

Posted by: jckdoors | April 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Jesus, doesn't that evangelical, Regent University educated, confederate sympathizer Mcdonnell have any other more important issues to attend too? Jesus!

Posted by: kenk3 | April 26, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

God Bless Virginia. We have the BEST Governor in decades.

Posted by: AlbyVA | April 26, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Some people think that Jesus is lord, others think that Jesus is lard. There should be no public prayers by government employees---PERIOD.

Posted by: dcheretic | April 26, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

It don't matter who you are or what you do for a living. Everyone has the right to pray or not. Stop making even the littlest of things that a person does against sombodys law or rights. We are all free to do whatever we want to do, as long as it is legal, keep social issues private and stop trying to make everyone conform to a social mold.

Posted by: randykree | April 27, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Northrop Grumman, and thousands of jobs coming to Virginia. The McDonnell/Cucinelli era is already reaping huge dividends. Keep up the great work gentlemen..

Posted by: wewintheylose | April 27, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse


Actually, the police superintendent is correct and the federal appeals court in the Fredericksburg case is wrong.

Public events or work-related events of state police officers should not be opened with any form of prayer. It's a government workplace and employees are required to attend.

A city council meeting is voluntary for all to attend (including the coucil members) and the speech there must be as unregulated and diverse as decorum will allow.

Posted by: blasmaic | April 27, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

SAIC, VolksWagon, Computer Science Corp, Hilton Corp and many many more jobs thanks to past governors. Virginia has been and still is the number one place for business ranked by Forbes and Fortune magazine. Thank you Mark Warner and Tim McKain. Eight years of Democratic governorship has made the state number ONE. It's obvious that some don't even want to acknowledge or give you credit.

Posted by: loewsing | April 27, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I am SO sick of "Christians" who believe that I am not a person of faith because I pray to God, instead of a man named Jesus.

Posted by: MAL9000 | April 27, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

"It is important to a lot of people of faith in Virginia," Blake said. "When you change tradition it bothers a lot of people." The fact that Blake is concerned only with what bothers Christians is just the sort of thing the antiestablishment clause was meant to deal with. Let the people of faith who want to mention Jesus in their prayers, mention Jesus in their prayers, and stop carrying on about whether other people's prayers mention Jesus or not. (Better yet, let's stop with the government-sponsored praying altogether.)

Posted by: hmessinger2 | April 27, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

To all those who want to stand up against this idiocy, check out venganza dot org. RAMen!

Posted by: Stats | April 27, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

i was going to use a chimney repair company based in virginia to do a $3,000 chimney repair job, but now I think I need to get some estimates from some Maryland companies. I don't want any of my money going to support those anti-american conderates in richmond trying to turn back the clock.

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 27, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

If they must pray, they should at least be inclusive. Otherwise Jewish and other folks are forced to listen to these "I'm right and you're wrong" comments at a taxpayer-funded event. This "Virginia Christian Alliance" sounds like an activist group.

Posted by: valandsend | April 27, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

So these sanctimonious groups would have no problem if public officials prayed to Allah or Zeus or Isis at a public event? Of course they would because they represent one of the most bigoted and discriminatory groups in the world...religious fundamentalists. I hope they all go home to Jesus as soon as possible...

Posted by: bgd1964 | April 27, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I am SO sick of "Christians" who believe that I am not a person of faith because I pray to God, instead of a man named Jesus.

Posted by: MAL9000

I don't know what "faith" you are, but you can't be a CHRISTian and not believe in Christ... And am no way am I being judgemental, but that is a basic Christian principal, and it's in the Word of God.

"Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me"
-John 14:6

Posted by: jleary1 | April 27, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I am SO sick of "Christians" who believe that I am not a person of faith because I pray to God, instead of a man named Jesus.

Posted by: MAL9000

I don't know what "faith" you are, but you can't be a CHRISTian and not believe in Christ... And am no way am I being judgemental, but that is a basic Christian principal, and it's in the Word of God.

"Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me"
-John 14:6


Posted by: jleary1 | April 27, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

___________________

Well guess what --Not everyone who prays to GOD prays to JESUS STUPID.. And I for one hate my tax dollars being wasted while a bunch of ugly white racist men pray to their PARTICULAR sky DADDY.
Are you saying JEWs are not welcome at this prayer session? How about HINDUs or SEIKHS, Muslims? Or how about Wiccans or Pagans?

If you all want to pray to whatever sky daddy you want -FEEL FREE - I will never say you can't - BUT IT IS OFFENSIVE to say that ALL at that meeting must pray only to your JESUS.

Posted by: racerdoc | April 27, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Jesus specifically tell people to pray quietly behind closed doors? Its in the bible people!

Posted by: 123cartoon | April 27, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Constitution's "establishment" clause banned sectarian prayers at government-sponsored events and that was the end of it.

Although I suppose invocations at opening sessions of Congress have become a traditional exception. Then again, if anyone needs the Almighty's support it's the Congress - especially in an election year.

And nowadays, nobody (even some members of the Supreme Court) reads the Constitution anyway.

Posted by: loyalsyst | April 27, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell is a delusional Jesus-freak. He probably thinks the earth is 6000k years old.

Posted by: kenk3 | April 27, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

People. If anything out of the ordinary was to happen tragically at any event, etc. the first word out of the mouth would most likely be Jesus. Second, Oh God. Please be reminded people this Jesus being tossed around is not your horse shoe. He represents the person of God indwelled in us who are called to pray for all people and when we do pray for others we do not interject denominational lists as we move through the prayer we open and close in the same manner but it remains a matter of personal choice within whether or not you receive it. finally, Only one Heaven.

Posted by: werblessed | April 29, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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