Christian Police and Fire Chaplains Ordered Not to Say, “Jesus” in Prayer Closing

Christian Police and Fire Chaplains Ordered Not to Say, “Jesus” in Prayer Closing

By Steve Pomper 

Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro (Photo: Sean Vivek Crasto, public domain, wiki commons)

I heard a term today on a radio talk show: “Cry-bullies.” Does that describe some folks today, or what? In the name of victimology or an odd virtue-signaling anguish over non-existent complainers, Carlsbad, California cry-bully city manager Scott Chadwick has outlawed fire and police department chaplains from closing their prayers with, “In Jesus’ name.”

According to Michael Gryboski at the Christian Post, “The First Liberty Institute [FLI] sent a complaint letter to the Carlsbad City Council on Tuesday regarding the City Manager Scott Chadwick allegedly ordering fire chaplain Denny Cooper and police chaplain J.C. Cooper [father and son] to stop praying in Jesus’ name.”

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

It also literally raises the unavoidable rhetorical question, “Is nothing sacred?”

Ironically, Chadwick appears to have taken this action to be, in the woke parlance, “inclusive” by forcing more culture-destroying DEI crap down people’s throats. On the contrary, as FLI attorney Kayla Toney notes, by admonishing the public safety chaplains, it’s Chadwick who has “created a hostile work environment.”

Being an accuracy-in-language geek, I wonder if Chadwick will also outlaw the word invocation regarding the prayers? After all, doesn’t invocation refer to invoking something or someone, in this case, Jesus? You don’t have to be Christian to see this is nuts.

For Christian chaplains, isn’t mentioning Jesus sort of an “occupational hazard?” Umm, “Jesus—Christ—Christian.” It’s right there in the name for C—‘s sake! What kind of warped mind starts unnecessary trouble like this? A cry-bully.

Also, there was one conspicuous thing missing from the story I read by Pat Droney at Law Enforcement Today (LET). There was no mention that anyone had complained about the chaplains’ prayers. They only mentioned people speaking out in favor (and against) of the ban in a public meeting after Chadwick had raised the issue.

When police Chaplain JC Cooper attempted to defend his prayer’s closing (By the way, can anyone else already see the chaplains prevailing in the U.S. Supreme Court? Yeah, me too.), Marxist City Manager Scott Chadwick warned him that “he could no longer use ‘in Jesus’ name’ from his invocations, [or] he would be subject to discipline.”

Hey, SCOTUS! This guy, running Carlsbad, Cali., is wearing a neon sign begging you folks to slap him around a bit. As bad as this bigoted bullying is, Chadwick gets even more ridiculous when he, oh so magnanimously, tells Pastor Cooper that “he could use any other name in place of God. However, he could not use the Son of God, Jesus.”

Well, that was downright Marxian of him. What a guy!

This flows from the same vein as equally ridiculous anti-police policies coming from similarly virtue-signaling cry-bullies. Oh, wait. One pastor is a police chaplain—So, there you go!

Chadwick, citing the irrelevant to his ignorant actions “separation of church and state” argument, Chadwick claimed that praying in Jesus’ name ‘constituted harassment of non-Christians and created a hostile work environment.’”

Relying on the specious separation of church and state argument shows the depth of Chadwick’s ignorance of the law. Again (you know I’m always concerned for those folks sitting in the back, so I’ll speak up): the church-state phrase is not found in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, nor is it congressionally legislated law.

President Thomas Jefferson mentioned the phrase in a letter to a church congregation in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802, discussing that the Constitution prohibits the federal government from establishing a national religion.

The radical Left often neglects that the First Amendment’s religious protections are a double-edged sword. While the Constitution says the government cannot establish a state religion, it also cannot “prohibit… the free exercise of religion.” The radicals seem to forget about that essential second emphasis.

Wouldn’t prohibiting a chaplain from closing an invocation by invoking his religion’s founder, with a phrase so fundamental and essential to the Christian faith, “In Jesus’ name,” be prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

To add to the folly and mean-spiritedness of Chadwick’s cry-bullying, the Supreme Court has already quashed the “church-state” argument. In “Kennedy v Bremerton, the Supreme Court overruled the ‘Lemon Test’ which was used to purge expressions of faith from public life” [second link added].

Interestingly, when I first saw this story, I was immediately reminded of Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy (the above-referenced case), fired by his school district for praying (alone) on the field after games. Many students chose to pray with him; he invited no one to join him. But the woke school administrators freaked out anyway!

In the end, SCOTUS slapped the cry-bully school officials around a bit and provided folks like the two Pastor Coopers with potent ammo for their defense.

I have an idea. In the tradition of not having to follow unlawful orders, what if the fire and police chaplains continued to minister to the cops and firefighters as they always have? For Chadwick to enforce his diktat, wouldn’t he be forced to have the pastors removed from wherever they were plying their holy trade.

And just who exactly would Chadwick have to call to have the pastors physically ejected from the premises in which they were praying? Just food for thought.