- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is distancing himself from a full-page newspaper ad about a Christian rally he plans to speak at in Charlotte.

McCrory is set to speak at a rally called The Response on Sept. 26, The Charlotte Observer reported (https://bit.ly/1Xbe9YS).

The ad over McCrory’s name and picture invites people to join him for worship, prayer, fasting and repentance. It also calls on Jesus to hear those at the rally and heal America.

“Our country is in crisis because we are a people who are no longer honoring God in our prosperity or humbly calling on Him in our predicaments,” the advertisement reads.

The governor will speak on underage drinking, substance abuse and other issues, McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson said.

Wilson said the governor had not given permission to organizers to invite people on his behalf.

Senior Rabbi Judy Schindler of Temple Beth El in Charlotte said the ad goes too far and raises questions about separation of church and state.

“Did Gov. McCrory consider how this would be interpreted by the non-Christian people of his state?” Schindler said. “Is he advocating an explicit religious perspective?”

McCrory has attended previous prayer events both as governor and as mayor of Charlotte. He said he is “proud to attend the event and be a part of what hopefully will be a constructive dialogue.”

A 2011 Response gathering drew an estimated 44,000 to a Houston football stadium. Similar events have been held in Louisiana and South Carolina, with the governors of those states in attendance.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com

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