‘Jesus Christ’ Banned from Council Prayers

‘Jesus Christ’ Banned from Council Prayers

Mar 7, 2013

By Todd Starnes

SOURCE

The mayor of a Washington town has directed pastors to stop invoking the name “Jesus Christ” in city council invocations.

Don Jensen, the mayor of Longview, Wash., told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association that prayers mentioning Christ were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit.

The decision has sparked controversy in the city – located about 50 miles north of Portland, Ore.

Mark Schmutz, who pastors the Northlake Baptist Church, said if they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.

“We need to be able to speak Jesus’ name,” he told The Daily News. “They’re asking us not to do what we’re called to do. This is the one and only true God. We’re not trying to be against anybody – we’re just being clear about what we’re for.

Local ministers have been leading City Council invocations for more than 50 years – and until recently there had never been any complaints.

That changed when resident Dan Smith started raising concerns about the constitutionality of prayers that include the name of Christ and whether it was appropriate for the ministerial association to be responsible for the prayers.

“I do fully realize that this may not be a popular thing for you to do, but as an elected public official it is the right thing to do,” he wrote in a letter to council members.

Smith describes himself as a “comfortable atheist” – and called the longtime prayers an embarrassment. He hinted that unless the prayers were dropped it might lead to a lawsuit.

The city’s attorney said invocations are certainly permitted under the Constitution but what is unclear is whether the prayers can invoke the name of Jesus Christ.

Mayor Jensen told the newspaper he regretted having to issue the edict.

“It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy and cost our city and our citizens a lot of money,” he said.

Jensen said the invocations set the right tone for their meetings and said it encouraged residents to be “more friendly.”

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Six-year-old boy banned from wearing Christian band

Primary school bans six-year-old boy from wearing Christian band in class for ‘health and safety reasons’

A furious dad has slammed a school after his six-year-old son was banned from wearing a Christian band in class on health and safety grounds.

Peter Thompson’s son Eddie had been wearing the band, decorated with the Christian symbol of a fish, out of sight for six months.

But when a teacher spotted Eddie scratching his ankle she noticed the band, covered by his sock, and ordered him to hand it over.

Now he is being kept at home after he was banned from wearing the band at school on health and safety grounds.

Banned: Six-year-old Eddie Thompson (left) was told he was not allowed to wear the Christian band around his ankle at school. His father Peter Thompson (right), 39, is now keeping him at home until the situation is resolvedBanned: Six-year-old Eddie Thompson (left) was told he was not allowed to wear the Christian band around his ankle at school. His father Peter Thompson (right), 39, is now keeping him at home until the situation is resolved

Mr Thompson, 39, is demanding an apology from the head at Estfeld Primary in Tickhill, near Doncaster, and is keeping Eddie at home until the situation is resolved.

He has made a series of complaints and says he believes the school is discriminating against him because he is a Christian, after Eddie was told he could not wear the band at school.

Mr Thompson, from Tickhill, said : ‘I couldn’t believe it when Eddie told me what had happened. He was so upset.

 ‘He wears the band because he wants to feel that God is always with him. He has had it on for the past six months and makes sure it is covered by his sock, so it’s not on display or posing any kind of risk.

‘No one has said a thing about it for all this time but when one of the teachers spotted it when Eddie had an itchy ankle and was scratching it she took it off him.

‘When I complained about this to the school they were very blunt and said bands like this were banned. I think they’re discriminating against him because he’s a Christian. This is a symbol of his faith.

 

Headteacher Diane Risley has said the school 'has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school'Headteacher Diane Risley has said the school ‘has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school’

‘I’m particularly angry and upset at the school because during the summer they were actually selling rubber charity bands to raise money.

‘It doesn’t make sense to me that now they say they are banned yet in the summer they were selling them on school property.

Ruling: The incident follows the recent victory by airline worker Nadia Eweida who won a court battle after being banned from wearing a Christian cross while working at a check-in counterRuling: The incident follows the recent victory by airline worker Nadia Eweida who won a court battle after being banned from wearing a Christian cross while working at a check-in counter

‘I don’t want his education to suffer but I don’t want to send him back at this stage and when he does go back I’m worried about how he will be treated.’

Head teacher Diane Risley said: ‘At Tickhill Estfeld the safety and well being of all pupils is taken extremely seriously and the school has a clear uniform policy in place to help families understand what pupils can and cannot wear whilst at school.

‘Whilst we do not comment on individual cases any parent who has concerns is entitled to raise these with us directly.’

Mr Thompson, a lorry driver, said Eddie picked out the band himself at a Christian bookshop six months ago.

He said: ‘We are telling Eddie that he’s now off school because of the weather. He keeps praying for snow.’

Mr Thompson, who regularly attends Bentley Baptist Church in Doncaster with his son, believes the school are discriminating against Eddie because he is a Christian.

He said: ‘We are a Christian family and Eddie’s band was a reflection of this.’

The news follows a recent victory by airline worker Nadia Eweida who won a court battle after being banned from wearing a Christian cross while working at a check-in counter. Her case was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights who ruled that she was allowed to wear it as an expression of her faith.

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