Imagine waking up the morning of Thursday, September 25, 2008 and discovering you could no longer pray using the name of Jesus, your savior, as you conducted His work as a Chaplain for the Virginia State Police. That is exactly what happened because of Col. W. Steven Flaherty’s directive to strike the name of Jesus from the prayers of Virginia State Police Chaplains. A directive supported by Governor Kaine. It was all over the news that day and six Virginia State Police chaplains resigned their chaplain’s position.
Because of the directive, supported by Governor Kaine, 6 Troopers Resign as Chaplains
from Anita KumarWashington Post Staff Writer Thursday, September 25, 2008
RICHMOND, Sept. 24 — Six Virginia State Police troopers have resigned their voluntary positions as chaplains following the implementation of a policy that bans them from referring to Jesus Christ in public prayers. (link to article)
The November 1st Prayer Rally “Virginia, Stand Up for Jesus” galvanized the resolve to stand up to the attack on their faith as Christians and unite for a two year battle to pressure Virginia Lawmakers to rescind the ban.
The Virginia Christian Alliance and other organizations began a petition drive to put pressure on their elected representatives to reverse Governor Kaine’s directive. Senator Steve Martin opened the rally with the Star Spangled Banner. Mathew Staver, Dean of Law, Liberty University, spoke on the Rule of Law and American Heritage. The program hand outs at the rally included a petition to rescind Governor’s Kaine’s directive and also honored the six Virginia State Police Chaplains who were forced to resign for praying “in Jesus name”. This Christian persecution would not go unanswered.
Other news publication, such as the Richmond Free Press, supported the policy of Governor Kaine and the Democrats who blocked legislation to rescind the ban.
The Democrat led legislature would kill two bills in 2009 and 2010 that would have allowed sectarian prayers by the chaplains, and praying in Jesus name.
Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation called the Kaine administration policy “discriminatory”.
“I don’t think the vast majority of Virginians are offended when someone expresses their faith publicly, regardless of what their faith is.
Senator Steve Martin noted that since 1979 up until Kaine’s policy was enacted, state police had permitted those participating in the volunteer chaplain program to pray in accordance with their own faith.
The election of men of faith, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, Republican Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli created the opportunity for a policy change.
On January 16, 2010, a new governor, former Attorney General Bob McDonnell was sworn in. The Virginia election was a mandate for change as Republicans swept the top three spots winning by double-digits in each race.
On April 28, 2010, under pressure from the Virginia Christian Alliance and other organizations, Governor McDonnel rescinded the Virginia State Police policy. Gov. McDonnell reappointed Col. W. Steven Flaherty as state police superintendent, and directed Col. Flaherty to reinstate the sectarian prayers, and allowing chaplains to once again pray in the name of Jesus.
RICHMOND – RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia State Police chaplains can once again invoke Jesus, Allah and other deities during official prayers.
At the request of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, State Police Superintendent W. Stephen Flaherty on Wednesday reversed a 2008 order that required volunteer chaplains to deliver non-denominational prayers at public events.
The policy change came the same day McDonnell reappointed Flaherty to his position, which he has held since 2003.
April 30th, the Don Blake, President of VCA and Chaplain Gordon J. Klingenschmitt met a VCA Headquarters to prepare the delivery of petitions to Governor Bob McDonnell’s office to rescind the ban.
On May 6, 2010, the National Day of Prayer, the Virginia Christian Alliance, Reverend Dr. Gary Stewart of Beaverdam Baptist Church and Chaplain Klingenschmitt deliver the petitions to the Governor’s offices.