State Police Chief Reverses Decision on Prayer
For the first time in two years, state police chaplains may invoke the name of Jesus in their prayers. But as Charles Fishburne reports, it may likely be challenged in court.
In a reversal of policy, State Police Superintendent Stephen Flaherty said the department’s 17 chaplains may again use the name of Jesus at events like state trooper graduation ceremonies or memorial services, even though a similar case in Fredericksburg was ruled unconstitutional.
Tobias: The Superintendent only instituted that policy after the Fourth Circuit ruled in the Fredericksburg case.
Carl Tobias, Law Professor at the University of Richmond.
Tobias: Then the Superintendent realized that those public prayers that the troopers’ chaplains were offering would run afoul of that Fredericksburg case.
Flaherty’s decision came after several faith-based groups, including the Family Foundation, asked Governor McDonnell to reinstate the policy, and though it will likely be challenged in court, the Governor yesterday commended Flaherty and reappointed him to serve as Superintendent, along with several other top government appointments announced yesterday.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News.