WASHINGTON, July 24, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that the city council of Fredericksburg, Virginia had proper authority to require “non-sectarian” prayer content and exclude council-member Rev. Hashmel Turner from the prayer rotation because he prayed “in Jesus’ name.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing the decision, said: “The restriction that prayers be nonsectarian in nature is designed to make the prayers accessible to people who come from a variety of backgrounds, not to exclude or disparage a particular faith.”
Ironically, she admitted Turner was excluded from participating solely because of the Christian content of his prayer.
Gordon James Klingenschmitt, the former Navy chaplain who faced court-martial for praying “in Jesus name” in uniform (but won the victory in Congress for other chaplains), defended Rev. Hashmel Turner:
“The Fredericksburg government violated everybody’s rights by establishing a non-sectarian religion, and requiring all prayers conform, or face punishment of exclusion.”
He continued, “Justice O’Connor showed her liberal colors today, by declaring the word ‘Jesus’ as illegal religious speech, which can be banned by any council who wishes to ignore the First Amendment as she did. Councilman Rev. Hashmel Turner should run for mayor, fire the other council-members, and re-write the prayer policy. And if he appeals to the Supreme Court, I pray he will win, in Jesus’ name.”
A full text copy of the decision is here: