CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department chaplains have been told they cannot invoke the name of Jesus in prayers at public events.
WSOC reported that Major John Diggs, who oversees the chaplain program, said the policy is a matter of respecting people of different faiths and is not aimed at one religion.
Pastor Terry Sartain has been a chaplain with the department for seven years.
“I asked if I could withdraw, because Jesus is the only thing I have to bless people with,” Sartain said, according to WSOC.
The station reported that he was allowed to withdraw from the ceremony and was told it would hurt his standing as a chaplain.
Jim Gronquist, a former Methodist minister who has been a practicing lawyer and member of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the policy is long overdue.
“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.
WSOC reported that several police chaplains resigned two years ago when the department took on a lesbian chaplain.
Read more: WSOC.