City Councilman Hashmel C. Turner Jr. did not offer his customary prayer at yesterday's meeting, forestalling the ACLU's threat to sue if Turner invoked the name of Jesus Christ.but it is a sectarian reference, when one reveres the goddess you twats
But a defiant Turner also signaled that the issue is not settled, despite a recent federal court ruling that declared a similar practice by a South Carolina town council unconstitutional.
"I'm standing firm in my faith," Turner, associate minister at First Baptist Church of Love in neighboring Spotsylvania County, said before the council meeting. "There is no compromise."
In Turner's stead, Councilwoman Debby L. Girvan led the meeting in prayer, invoking "Almighty God," a nonsectarian reference permitted by U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
In the South Carolina case, plaintiff Darla Kaye Wynne sued Great Falls, S.C., officials in 2001 after they refused to stop referring to Jesus in their prayers.
Wynne, a member of the pagan-based Wiccan faith, asked council members to mention God or a nondenominational deity. She was singled out, presumably by a council member, when she refused to stand during the prayers, according to the appellate court's findings.