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RICHMOND, Va. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Reports are emerging that vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine backed a state policy banning the name of Jesus in public prayers.
In late 2008, when Kaine was governor of Virginia, six state police chaplains resigned in protest against a strict "non-sectarian" prayer policy at all public gatherings that forbade any mention of the name Jesus. The initiative was enacted by Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty, and applied to the 17 state police chaplains at the time. Six of them immediately resigned.
"I am deeply disappointed in these eight Democrats who want to censor the prayers to eliminate the mention of Jesus Christ," remarked Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Navy chaplain and spokesman for the six police chaplains.
Political leaders at the time issued public statements defending the chaplains' right to pray according to their faith and questioning Kaine's role in the prayer ban. The uproar against the new policy led to the Virginia House introducing a bill to grant state police chaplains the right to pray in Jesus' name. Although the bill passed in the House 66–30, it died in a Senate committee by a narrow 8–7 vote.
It wouldn't be until 2010 that the policy was reversed, with Republican governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell ordering Flaherty to reinstate religious prayers.
"The governor does not believe the state should tell chaplains of any faith how to pray," said Tucker Martin, director of communications for McDonnell. "Religious officials of all faiths should be allowed to pray according to the dictates of their consciences."
Watch the panel discuss Kaine's record on this free episode of "The Download—Kaine Bans Jesus."