Volunteer chaplains in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have been banned from using Jesus' name during prayers that are uttered during public events.
Rather than serving as a discriminatory practice, the new policy is intended -- at least according to Major John Diggs who oversees the chaplain program -- as an effort to respect people of all faiths.
"[It's a] matter of respecting that people may have different faiths and that it is not aimed at any one religion or denomination," Diggs told WSOC-TV.
But while Diggs claims that the decision is rooted in not offending non-Christians and that it is not geared toward any particular denomination, some are voicing their disapproval. Take, for instance, Pastor Terry Sartain, who is the senior faith leader at Horizon Christian Fellowship and who has been a chaplain with the police department for seven years.
Sartain was scheduled to speak recently at a government event where he planned, as per usual, to use Jesus' name in his invocation. Just before the event, he received a phone call informing him of the new-found ban. Naturally, he was saddened and made the decision not to attend the event.
"When I heard this I was sad," he explained. "I asked if I could withdraw, because Jesus is the only thing I have to bless people with."
In the end, the pastor was told that his decision not to attend and pray at the event will hurt his standing as a chaplain. Despite this incident, Sartain pledges to stay with the ministry, as he believes his work with the police officers is important. That being said, he has asked to have his name removed from the roster of individuals who would offer up public prayers at local events.
Despite some protesting, some, like Jim Groquist, a former Methodist minister and a lawyer and member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are elated.
"It's improper to mix up religion with the function of state agents, and as long as they're state agents, they should not be able to do that," he proclaimed after learning of the news.
(H/T: Fox News Radio)