Jesus Banned from Prayers by Speaker of the House — 143,000+ Petitions to North Carolina Legislators
July 13, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C., July 13 /Christian Newswire/ — The Pray In Jesus Name Project is faxing more than 140,000 petitions to the North Carolina State-House, demanding legislators reverse Speaker Joe Hackney’s ban against the forbidden word “Jesus” during public prayers spoken by volunteer pastors giving the invocation.
Nearly 1,000 citizens from all 50 states signed the free petition on the first day, which was then faxed to each of 120 North Carolina State Representatives and all 50 Senators.
On May 31, Speaker Hackney verbally banned Jesus’ name as “illegal speech” by disinviting Pastor Ron Baity from praying before the legislature after pre-screening the prayer content and objecting to his closing words, “in Jesus name.” No written policy exists banning prayer content, but the Speaker is now writing one.
“I got fired,” said Ron Baity, pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. He had been invited to lead prayer for an entire week but his tenure was cut short when he refused to remove the name Jesus from his invocation.
“Our petition campaigns have helped reverse Jesus-bans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, California and Virginia, and now we fight for free religious speech in North Carolina,” said former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, leader of The Pray in Jesus Name Project. Klingenschmitt himself was punished for praying “in Jesus name” in uniform in 2006, but was later vindicated by the U.S. Congress. “Pastor Baity is a hero for refusing to water-down his prayers,” he said.
Despite deceptive claims by the ACLU’s easily-offended atheist complainers, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals specifically authorized legislatures to allow Jesus-prayers in Turner v. Fredericksburg, when Justice O’Connor wrote: “the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer. In Marsh, the legislature employed a single chaplain…the legislature in Simpson allowed a diverse group of church leaders from around the community to give prayers at open meetings. Both varieties of legislative prayer were found constitutional.”
Concerned citizens are encouraged to sign the free petition at prayinjesusname.org
To interview Chaplain Klingenschmitt, contact: Stephanie Lewis, TC Public Relations, 312-422-1333, Stephanie@tcpr.net