City Council Demands Chaplain Stop Praying In Jesus Name

Police and Fire Chaplains Ordered to Stop Praying In Jesus Name

City Council Demands Chaplain Stop Praying In Jesus Name

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  John 14:13-14

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  Matthew 5:11-12

Volunteer Chaplains

From CBN: 

For 6 years, J.C. Cooper serves as a volunteer chaplain for the Carlsbad Police Department.  Mr. Cooper is a local pastor of the Mission Church.

J.C.’s father, Denny Cooper, is also a volunteer chaplain, and served for 18 years.

Volunteer chaplains are there to pray for folks in traumatic situations.   They do good.  They don’t get paid.

Prayers Concluding with “In Jesus Name”

In early March, J.C. was asked to give an invocation at the Carlsbad Police Department Awards Ceremony and he concluded the prayer “in Jesus’ name.”

About a month later, J.C. was told by Police Chief Christie Calderwood that the City Council had decided that unless he removed “in Jesus’ name” from future invocations, he would be subject to discipline.

His father, Denny, was told by Fire Chief Mike Calderwood around the same time that the city manager told him Denny could no longer perform invocations unless he also removed the phrase, “In Jesus’ Name.”

Violation of Conscience and a Sin

J.C. sought counsel with his father and pastor and told the police chief that “removing the name of Jesus from his prayers would be a denial of his Savior Jesus Christ, a violation of his conscience, and a sin.”

As a result, he declined to give the invocation at the upcoming Carlsbad Police Promotion Ceremony.

They Told Him He Could Pray Using any Other Name, but Not “Jesus”

Later, the police chaplain had a meeting with the chief of police and City Manager Scott Chadwick.

According to First Liberty, the law firm representing J.C. Cooper,  Chadwick claimed that invoking the name of Jesus was considered “harassment, created a hostile work environment, and lifted one religion above another.”

Chadwick then told J.C. that he could pray using any other name or term for God, but he could not say “Jesus.”

First Liberty alleges the city manager “misunderstands the law concerning public chaplains and invocations” and urges “the City Council to revisit the decision to censor the Chaplains’ prayers.”

“Because the Chaplains cannot in good conscience erase the name of Jesus from their prayers, this order deprives first responders of the solace and the spiritual strength that the Chaplains’ volunteer ministry has provided for nearly two decades,”

The letter continues:
“The City Manager misunderstands the law concerning public chaplains and invocations, and we urge the City Council to revisit the decision to censor the Chaplains’ prayers. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause does not require government “to purge from the public sphere anything an objective observer could reasonably infer endorses or partakes of the religious.” Kennedy v Bremerton School District.  In Kennedy, the Supreme Court overruled the long-criticized “endorsement” test established by Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). Instead, “the Establishment Clause must be interpreted by reference to historical practices and understandings.” Kennedy, 142 S. Ct. at 2427–28 (cleaned up).”

First Liberty’s letter is attached here: FLI-Letter-to-Carlsbad-CC53_Redacted

City Council Demands Chaplain Stop Praying In Jesus Name

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