The PC Police: Political Correctness v Police Chaplains

The secularist, dictatorship of relativism’s war on Jesus continues.

From CMR Matthew Archbold gives us this:

No Jesus Allowed for Police Chaplains
Police chaplains in this North Carolina town are allowed to pray but they’re not allowed to pray to Jesus.

WSOC reports:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department chaplains have been told that they cannot invoke the name of Jesus in prayers at public events.

“When I heard this I was sad,” said Pastor Terry Sartain, who has been a chaplain with CMPD for seven years.

Sartain said he learned of the policy when he got a phone call before a recent promotion ceremony saying he could not use Jesus’ name in his invocation.

“I asked if I could withdraw, because Jesus is the only thing I have to bless people with,” Sartain said.

He was allowed to withdraw from the ceremony and was told it would hurt his standing as a chaplain. [Get that?]

Major John Diggs, who oversees the chaplain program, said the policy is a matter of respecting that people may have different faiths and that it is not aimed at any one religion or denomination.

Some say the policy is long overdue. [Some say the policy is absurd.]

“It’s past time when they should’ve made a policy,” said Jim Gronquist, a former Methodist minister who has been a practicing lawyer and member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Gronquist said it’s important to keep the separation between church and state — in this case, between specific faiths and the police department.

“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,” Gronquist said.

Controversy is nothing new to the police chaplains. Several resigned two years ago when the department took on a lesbian chaplain.

But Terry Sartain did not walk away then and he said he’s not going to leave his ministry with the officers, whatever their beliefs.

“They know when I ride with them that I love them for who they are,” Sartain said.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. anilwang says:

    Can’t use Jesus in prayers?

    No problem, pray in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    In all seriousness, “Jesus is the only thing I have to bless people with” is true for many denominations that see the only valid prayer is one in Jesus’s name. Obviously, it’s not true (e.g the Our Father), but praying to some generic god in an multi-faith gathering where Jesus, Buddhi, Krishna, the Great Manitou, Quetzalcoatl, Cthulhu, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are all honored is the very antithesis of Christianity.

    The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has effectively said, Christian chaplains are not welcome.

  2. Look, the enemies of the Church WANT the Church to withdraw from public life. They WANT Christians to retreat. This chaplain should have gone to the event and prayed in the Name of Jesus anyway. It’s what we all ought to do when faced with similar situations. We ought to go about doing what we are supposed to be doing and make them come after us. Is this not what we were confirmed for?

  3. Great article, Father Z. It’s horrendous what the secular minority is doing to Christians these days.

    And anilwang, I respectfully disagree that the emphasis on the Holy Name of Jesus is a merely Protestant thing, *especially* when persecutions abound.

    “Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him.”- Colossians 3:17, Knox Bible

    Not only do we have that very blatant instruction from St. Paul to offer our prayers and thanksgivings, our trials and sufferings, our tribulations and sorrows to the Father through the invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus, we also have the example of the ancient Catholic Church. When the Jewish leaders forbade the Apostles from speaking anything in the Name of Jesus, guess what the Apostles did, specifically St. Peter? St. Peter declared that there is no other Name other than Jesus under Heaven and on Earth by which we must be saved, and then went on to make a point of calling on, invoking, and declaring that Name specifically in the face of persecution, because of the dynamic power of God in that Name. In the face of persecution, we ought to have this healthy blowback against secular or other earthly power by invoking the Name of Jesus, the stone of stumbling and the rock of offense, by which Name the Heavens and Earth and Hell bend the knee to the Triune God.

  4. I like to think of it this way: If you were in the Catacombs, or if you were about to be Martyred and your family, home, food, wealth, shelter, clothes, and every material and earthly good were taken from you such that you only had Jesus, would you not want to clothe yourself in His Holy Name? When all you have left is Jesus, you tend to call on Him explicitly, glorifying the Triune God in Him, through Whom we have access to the New Covenant and in Whom we partake of the Trinity’s Divine Nature.

  5. Matthew says:

    If they have to go to a family’s home and tell them that a family member has been killed in a traffic crash is the family allowed to mention the name of Jesus?

    The government can’t push one religion over another, but they can’t push areligion over religion – any specific religion or all religions.

  6. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    People who pray in the name of Jesus are not praying to Jesus. (Different preposition)

    I think the problem maybe the need for police chaplains. What is their purpose? What is the purpose of praying outloud? Yes, we are praying to God, but God can hear our prayers whether we move our lips or not. It must be so that others can pray with us. How would you like to go to one of these promotion ceremonies and have the chaplain pray to Allah? Would you want to pray with someone who is praying “some generic god in an multi-faith gathering where Jesus, Buddhi, Krishna, the Great Manitou, Quetzalcoatl, Cthulhu, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster”?

    Personally, I find the second more offensive than praying to Allah.

    A chaplain should work for God not the government. If the police think they need someone to pray before a ceremony, get a minister like congress does?

  7. jflare says:

    “It’s past time when they should’ve made a policy,” said Jim Gronquist, a former Methodist minister who has been a practicing lawyer and member of the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION.

    THAT is a very telling membership!

  8. Supertradmum says:

    More of the same in the military. So sad. I had this on my blog as well. We need to pray for these guys.

    Catholics and other Christians are being marginalized, one of the signs of persecution in the making. The steps of persecution have been noted by historians and sociologists. We ignore these at our own peril

  9. Joan M says:

    “He was allowed to withdraw from the ceremony and was told it would hurt his standing as a chaplain. [Get that?]”

    At the WSOC site there is a comment by Pastor Terry Sartain that said that the word NOT was left out of this sentence – his standing as a chaplain will not be hurt by this.

  10. Imrahil says:

    Well, the idea of not praying at all is at least just lack of religion.

    The idea of actually praying but without being allowed to make known our, which is the true, religion, however, brings up some bad bad bad remembrances.

    There was a time, and I give you a hint: it was in Germany, when it was very fashionable (especially for girls) to be reverent (the translation for andächtig, according to Google), and this very decidedly outside a Christian or Jewish context.

  11. Burke says:

    ‘“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,” Gronquist said.’

    If it is improper to mix up religion with the function of state agents, then why does the state employ chaplains and ask them to lead prayers at public events? Isn’t the chaplain in this case a state agent whose function is to bring religion into the mix?

    Mr Gronquist may be a minister and a lawyer, but I’m not sure I’d advise anyone to go to him for spiritual or legal advise. In fact, I’m not sure I’d ask him for directions. He sounds a bit confused.

  12. Legisperitus says:

    Although this was a Protestant chaplain, this incident is an example of the same obstacles the Catholic Church is facing today. Policies like this one and the HHS mandate are an inevitable result of the American system that allows no religion to be recognized as the true one. The Establishment Clause is foreordained to swallow up the Free Exercise Clause over time.

    In the medieval Ages of Faith, Church and State were separate but equal. Each had its own sphere of activity and recognized the authority of the other. The Church defined the common good and the State acted to facilitate it. Of course history is full of incursions by both Church and State against both the “separate” and “equal” principles, but the very fact that both sides made such incursions proves that they were separate and equal.

    In America, the State by law can acknowledge nothing as its equal. There can be no recognized Church with its own rights and functions independent of the State’s positive law. The State itself defines the common good, which eventually devolves into keeping the politicians in office. The liberty of the Catholic Church in such a society is an illusion, existing only so long as it serves the purposes of the omnipotent State to tolerate the Church and her activities.

    America needs conversion. May God grant it soon.

  13. MyBrokenFiat says:

    Upon reading this, I immediately thought of the Golden Arrow prayer given by Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great. He said of this prayer, “It will wound My Heart delightfully, and heal the the wounds inflicted by blasphemy.”

    In this case, may it heal the wounds inflicted by arrogance. May it heal the wounds inflicted by silence. May it heal the wounds inflicted by betrayal.

    The Golden Arrow Prayer:

    May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God be forever praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth by all the creatures of God and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

  14. dominic1955 says:

    I think the problem with this sort of situation is that our chickens are finally coming home to roost. We’ve played the “Can’t we all just get along?” card too long without actually parsing our religious beliefs and the conclusions of those beliefs out.

    Not that long ago in my home town in the midwest, when we had a civic commemoration (i.e. Memorial Day) at which a prayer was deemed appropriate, any minister that was invited would pray according to their “tradition” but generically enough as would be fitting for a civic ceremony. That said, it happened more often than not that Father would be the one at these things doing the prayers. I think even the Protestant townsfolks thought of him as the town “holy man” moreso than their own ministers. Its still like this.

    Point being, as long as everyone is fairly “conservative” and at least culturally and generically Christian, you won’t have a problem like the one in Charlotte. The “gentlemen’s agreement” of sort will continue on. However, all it takes is one liberal rabblerouser and the old customary agreement gets scrapped. As the article illustrated, the liberal mainline Protestant groups will just kowtow to the irreligionists because they are best-buds anyway. Many of our folks will too, because they have imbibed the same thought process through these years of trying to prove to the status quo WASPs that we weren’t anti-American.

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    Great topic and points made. I agreed with every one, even when they don’t agree with each other. If we are Christians, we ought to have Christian prayers that include Jesus. It’s not complete without Him, and if we are going to habitually leave His name out, how long can we go on at all.
    Maybe the day has come when there are multiple chaplains offering multiple prayers. Tedious, I know, but it is far better than leaving out the Name of Jesus and deliberately only praying generically. I would not want to pray to Allah, and I certainly don’t want to hear only a muslim prayer or any other kind of prayer, but I don’t mind AS MUCH if that prayer is accompanied by the Christian prayer that includes the Name of Jesus. What is to me, unacceptable is leaving Him out entirely. If I thought that would happen, I would like also invoke his name nonetheless. Career be damned.

  16. Kathleen10 says:

    I mean, I would also invoke his name…(how did like get in there?)

    postscript: I can see praying generically in some circumstances however. I don’t think it’s terrible to have a prayer for a “general audience” where we call Jesus, “God”. For a mixed population, I get it.
    See, I told you I feel two ways about it.

  17. Philangelus says:

    Does this apply across the board? If there’s a Muslim chaplain, is s/he allowed to use the name of Muhammad and call God “Allah”?

    And on a related note, how would it feel to be blessed by someone of another faith who used the name of his favorite deity? I’m asking this in all seriousness: if you were in a terrible car accident that left you semiconscious and unable to talk, and a passer-by tried to comfort you (until the ambulance came) by praying for you to be blessed by Ancient Jade the Goddess of Healing, how would that feel? Wouldn’t we assume God would honor that person’s sincere prayers for the victim’s well-being? But if we were conscious, wouldn’t we expect that if we asked the person to stop, she would?

  18. MyBrokenFiat says:

    So as I wrote out my own blog entry regarding this topic, my mind made this connection:

    Apparently the Name of Christ is more of a threat to the public of N. Carolina than concealed weapons (which are perfectly legal).

    Regardless of your feelings on gun laws, this really made me stop and shake my head.

  19. Johnno says:

    I believe a better strategy is for all practicing Christians, chaplains or otherwise in the military to protest by withdrawing en masse.

    This will send them a message, and you can bet a mass demonstration like this will get some reforms done.

    Playing nice and staying silent won’t do anything.

    I know there are some of you thinking it’s not good to withdraw as that’s what they technically want. You are correct, but they won’t know what they’ve got till it’s gone. I say withdraw and many do so on the same day. Hurt them in this manner by taking them completely by surprise, call media attention to this fact and make them ask questions. If a significant amount of people leave, I can guarantee you they will think twice about what they’re doing and do away with this stupid rule, and idiots like Mr. Gronquist will be looking for another job. That’s because these people will only go to such lengths to persecute Christianity so long as its convenient for them. The moment it’s inconvenient is the moment they back down. They are fickle flip flopping people and not in this for any real cause.

    There’s no room for niceties anymore. It’s all nice and all that Terry Sartain says he won’t leave. But now he is effectively part of the problem. He is sending a message that says Christians don’t mind being walked upon and persecuted, we won’t retaliate, we will effectively be good little sheep and do nothing.

  20. jhayes says:

    The Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives is Fr. Patrick Conroy, a Catholic priest. Here is his most recent prayer. Notice that he prays to “God” – which allows believers of all faiths to share in his prayer.

    Opening Prayer
    Reverend Patrick J. Conroy

    Almighty God of the universe, we give you thanks for giving us another day.

    We pray for the gift of Wisdom to all with great responsibility in this House for the leadership of our Nation.

    May all the Members have the vision for our nation where

    respect and understanding are the marks of civility, and

    honor and integrity are the marks of one’s character.

    Give them the Grace to see the best in those with whom they find disagreement, and the Courage to move together with them toward solutions that best serve our great nation.

    Raise up, O God, women and men from every nation who will lead toward the paths of peace, and whose good judgment will heal the hurt between all peoples.

    Bless us this day and every day, and may all that is done within these hallowed halls be for your greater honor and glory.

  21. Laura98 says:

    I think we need to start asking ourselves – what would Dietrich Bonhoeffer do? He faced these sorts of issues in Nazi Germany? What did he do? Or what did he suggest his fellow Christians do? – Even if they ignored his advice?

    I find it pretty scary to be living in times similar to his – never thought I would. But here we are.

  22. pinoytraddie says:

    On a Related Note,A Young Congressman in the Philippines(My Homeland) proposed a bill Banning Religious Rituals in Government Offices but Chickened Out after the Bishops Spoke Out against it.

    They Call It: The “BAN GOD BILL”

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Laura98, Be not afraid. My personal motto is from Gandalf…and has been my entire adult life, since the early 70s. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – The Fellowship of the Ring, I, 2

  24. Widukind says:

    I look at it this way. If I am asked to be present at a public ceremony of whatever sort and to offer a prayer, I usually accept. First of all, I am being asked – being solicited by whomever is in charge. As I am not the one asking to be part of it, then the one in charge knows who it is he is aking and what then to expect – that I am then expected to pray as a Catholic priest. If that is not what he wanted then he should not have asked. We should be exactly who people expect us to be, and not less. I had read something about this in an article years ago concerning ecumenical interaction.
    If you are a Catholic, then be a Catholic, and pray as a Catholic would pray, and without apology. It was of no use, in the ecumenical context, to pretend you are something else, and to belittle then your own beliefs. Ecumenism is concerned with the truth, and not about falsities, no matter how difficult that truth may be for some. In other words, it concerns the truth – if you believe what you believe is the truth then be truthful about it. You will be respected by others who may not share your own faith, etc. – because they got exactly what they were expecting to get, period. There was no shifting, no hiding, no sleigth of hand, no falsehood, no illusions or dillusions, because you are true and truthful. Sincerity in public is publically respected. People quickly lose respect when you try to be everybodies brother, for you really become no brother at all, but a shallow fake.

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