Virginia State Police Reinstate Controversial Prayer Policy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Virginia State Police Reinstate Controversial Prayer Policy

Play associated audio

By Rebecca Blatt

The Virginia State Police have reinstated a policy allowing chaplains to invoke Jesus in public prayers. Governor Bob McDonnell requested the change.

Until 2008, police chaplains in Virginia were allowed to lead public prayers according to their beliefs. That policy was rescinded after a U.S. appeals court upheld a rule requiring prayers at Fredericksburg city council meetings to be non-sectarian.

"The idea is that when the government itself prays it has to do so in a way that includes everyone, otherwise it undermines minority religions," says Kent Willis, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia.

Religious groups asked McDonnell to reinstate the original policy. A spokesperson for the Governor says he does not believe the state should tell chaplains of any faith how to pray.

Willis says sectarian prayer by chaplains at police-sanctioned events is illegal, regardless of state policy. He says the ACLU will develop handbooks to explain the law and will consider legal challenges.

NPR

Kids' Films And Stories Share A Dark Theme: Dead Mothers

Why do so many animated movies star motherless kids? Sarah Boxer, a graphic novelist, cartoon-lover and mother, talks to NPR's Kelly McEvers about the phenomenon and the message it sends to children.
NPR

Saskawhat? A Novel Berry From Canada Takes Root On Michigan Farms

Some rookie farmers in northern Michigan are growing saskatoon, an imported shrub from Canada that looks like blueberry. They're also experimenting with it in the kitchen — in jams and pies.
NPR

What Will Become Of Obama's Request For Immigration Relief Funds?

NPR's Arun Rath talks to political correspondent Mara Liasson about the chances of a political agreement over how to handle the migration of thousands of Central American children.
NPR

Looking For Free Sperm, Women May Turn To Online Forums

Bypassing commercial sperm banks, thousands are logging on to websites where women can connect with men at no cost. Anecdotes abound, but the scope of the unregulated activity is unclear.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.