I saw the article in Thursday’s Virginian Pilot regarding the chaplains who resigned over an edict issued by the State Police superintendent regarding nonsectarian prayers. I just scanned it and kept on going. Later in the day, as I was catching up on my blog reading, I ran across a link to the Washington Post story. Both make mention of a statement from Virginia Republicans, “blasting” Gov. Tim Kaine for the policy. I found a copy of the press release here.
“With one misguided action, the Kaine Administration has put the chaplains in an impossible position,” noted House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem).
“For those of us who understand the importance of religion in American life and value the free expression of religion as one of our essential rights, the Kaine Administration’s directive is disappointing and disheartening,” Delegate Griffith remarked.
Whoa! Did I miss something? The Washington Post reports:
In a statement, Col. W. Steven Flaherty, the State Police superintendent, said he asked chaplains to offer nondenominational prayers at department-sanctioned public events but that the request does not apply to private ceremonies or individual counseling.
Flaherty said his decision was in response to a recent federal appeals court ruling that a Fredericksburg City Council member may not pray “in Jesus’s name” during council meetings because the opening invocation is government speech.
OK, the federal appeals court made the ruling and Flaherty is just following the ruling. How the House Republican leadership made the leap to blame it on Kaine just doesn’t make sense. Got a problem with the ruling? Take it up with the court. And Delegate Charles W. “Bill” Carrico, Sr. (R-Grayson), who referred to this as an “attack on Christianity” needs to tone down the rhetoric.
Republicans don’t have a lock on Christianity.
UPDATE: Someone just sent me this link. Obviously, they have no clue, saying that the troopers “lost their jobs” and that Kaine is “persecuting Christians.” It’s folks like these who give Christianity a bad name.