Governor lets Va. troopers refer to Jesus

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Virginia state troopers can again refer to Jesus Christ in public prayers. Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell late Wednesday lifted a restriction imposed by former Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kane in 2008.

Previously, troopers involved in a volunteer chaplain program had been able to invoke Jesus or otherwise pray according to their respective religions.

But Mr. Kaine restricted them from doing so on the grounds that only nonsectarian prayers should be allowed at official events.

Six of the then-17 chaplains resigned in protest. Despite a strong outcry over the policy, the Virginia Assembly declined to pass any legislation contesting it.

After Mr. McDonnell’s decision, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia posted a statement saying the governor was being influenced to repeal the policy by conservative Christian groups such as the Family Foundation of Virginia and the Virginia Christian Alliance.

As individuals we have the right to practice the religion of our choice, but the governors job is to see that the state of Virginia protects religious liberty for all, Executive Director Kent Willis said.

He can only do that by making sure that government agents do not favor any particular religion when they represent the state in the performance of their official duties.

About the Author
Julia Duin

Julia Duin

Julia Duin is the Times’ religion editor. She has a master’s degree in religion from Trinity School for Ministry (an Episcopal seminary) and has covered the beat for three decades. Before coming to The Washington Times, she worked for five newspapers, including a stint as a religion writer for the Houston Chronicle and a year as city editor at the ...

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