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Speaker Joe Hackney of the North Carolina State House has banned the word "Jesus" as illegal speech during public prayers offered by volunteer pastors before legislative meetings.
I just spoke personally with my friend Pastor Ron Baity~ who confirmed a Fox News Report entitled "Pastor Yanked from Capitol Over ‘Jesus’ Prayer" which reports the Pastor was relieved of his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state house of representatives after he closed a prayer by invoking the name of Jesus.
"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.
Baity’s troubles began during the week of May 31. He said a House clerk asked to see his prayer. The invocation including prayers for our military~ state lawmakers and a petition to God asking him to bless North Carolina.
"When I handed it to the lady~ I watched her eyes and they immediately went right to the bottom of the page and the word Jesus~" he told FOX News Radio. "She said ‘We would prefer that you not use the name Jesus. We have some people here that can be offended.‘"
When Baity protested that he himself would be offended if the government ordered him to deny Christ~ she brought the matter to the attention of House Speaker Joe Hackney personally.
Speaker Hackney then decided Pastor Baity to disinvite Pastor Baity~ that he could pray that day only~ but would not be allowed to pray again in the future~ and the pastor’s services were terminated for the remainder of the week~ because he prayed "in Jesus’ Name."
TAKE ACTION! Please sign our FREE petition below~ and if enough people donate~ we will fax all comments free of charge to all 120 members of the NC House and all 50 Senators.
A PRAYER TO ALMIGHTY GOD~
Dear Sir~ Representatives and Senators:
We the undersigned respectfully petition you to reverse the ban on prayers "in Jesus name" levied by the anti-Jesus Speaker of the House Joe Hackney~ who recently disinvited Pastor Ron Baity and terminated his services for the week because his proposed prayers ended with the supposedly "illegal word" Jesus.
Jesus is not an illegal word~ the Bible is not a banned book~ and evangelistic speech is not a crime. We respectfully demand you uphold the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution~ and the North Carolina Constitution which says in Articles 13 and 14~ "All persons have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences~ and no human authority shall~ in any case whatever~ control or interfere with the rights of conscience. Freedom of speech and of the press are two of the great bulwarks of liberty and therefore shall never be restrained."
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has specifically authorized legislatures to PERMIT prayers offered "in Jesus name~" (while not forcing all prayers to conform to a formula) as former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in Turner v. Fredericksburg: "the Establishment Clause does not absolutely dictate the form of legislative prayer. In Marsh~ the legislature employed a single chaplain and printed the prayers he offered in prayerbooks at public expense. By contrast~ the legislature in Simpson allowed a diverse group of church leaders from around the community to give prayers at open meetings. Simpson~ 404 F.3d at 279. Both varieties of legislative prayer were found constitutional."
Since the courts do not REQUIRE you to ban "Jesus" as an illegal word~ and the Constititution does not PERMIT you to ban "Jesus" as an illegal word~ we request you reverse the ban~ and restore to all pastors the RIGHT to pray "in Jesus name" even in public forums like the Statehouse. PLEASE REVERSE THE BAN and PROTECT FREEDOM.
We the undersigned pray in Jesus’ name~ Amen.
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