I guarantee there wouldn’t be a problem if they had been referencing Allah and allowing the kids to pray five times a day facing Mecca.
A Louisiana lawman is livid over the federal government’s decision to cut off funds for two programs to help troubled young people, all, he says, because he refused to sign a pledge to bar prayer or any mention of God at their meetings.
Julian Whittington, the sheriff of Bossier Parish, La., told Fox News the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights defunded $30,000 for their Young Marines chapter as well as a youth diversion program. Federal officials objected to a voluntary student-led prayer in the department’s youth diversion program and an oath recited by the Young Marines that mentions God, according to Whittington, who blasted what he considers the government’s “aggression and infringement of our religious freedoms.”
“We were informed that these are unacceptable, inherently religious activities and the Department of Justice would not be able to fund the programs if it continued,” Whittington told Fox News. “They wanted a letter from me stating that I would no longer have voluntary prayer and I would also have to remove ‘God’ from the Young Marine’s oath.”
I must have missed the part of the 1st Amendment that mentions forcing groups to surrender their free speech and religious practices in exchange for federal funds.
“I flat said, ‘It’s not going to happen,’” he told reporters. “Enough is enough. This is the United States of America—and the idea that the mere mention of God or voluntary prayer is prohibited is ridiculous.”
Whittington further emphasized that he’s more concerned about the censorship than he is the lost funds.
“The money is not the issue,” he stated. “It’s the principle of the matter. What is going on here? Who is dictating what can or can’t be said in Bossier Parish?”
Thankfully, they’re not about to cave any time soon:
Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington was greeted with loud applause and shouts of “Amen” when he said he will not remove God from the Young Marines program during its 27th class graduation ceremony today.
The program has lost about $30,000 in federal funding because of a voluntary prayer cadets recite.
“He doesn’t need the politicians,” Lindea McCroix, who’s 9-year-old daughter Savannah Truelove graduated. “God will take him through it.”
The department has never received a complaint about the voluntary prayer, which states “… I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines…”
The prayer has been a part of the program since its inception 10 years ago. A random audit showing the federal funding sparked the controversy.
“We’ve never had one complaint from anybody for anything,” Whittington said, noting the department tried to compromise with the Department of Justice, which said God must be removed in order for federal funding to continue.
“I said, ‘Keep it. We’re not doing it. Game over.”