Prayer at Michigan Town Hall Gathering Drowned Out With Shouts of ‘Separation of Church and State’

GAYLORD, Mich. — A number of liberal activists wearing pink hats like those donned at the Washington Women’s March recently shouted down a prayer delivered at a town hall gathering in Michigan, chanting repeatedly, “Separation of Church and State!”

The incident occurred last Thursday in Gaylord during a meeting held by Republican Rep. Jack Bergman. Derek Hagland of Grace Baptist Church approached the podium to deliver the invocation, but some attendees rose to their feet and began chanting.

“Separation of Church and State! Separation of Church and State!” they called out over and over, while others stood or sat quietly, or bowed their head in respect.

Hagland moved forward with his prayer, appearing to ignore those being disruptive.

“This guy was giving [an] invocation,” Bergman Communication Director Farahn Morgan told Breitbart News. “He was not necessarily party affiliated in any way. That kind of reaction to him? It was the most aggressive that the crowd got during the entire event which was, quite honestly, shocking.”

The chanting lasted the duration of the prayer as an attendee swept the crowd with their camera, capturing those heckling the invocation.

At the end of the prayer, as Hagland said “amen,” some present clapped and cheered as if in support of the pastor.

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Morgan told Breitbart that some of the Democrats in attendance approached her later that night to advise that even they did not approve of the the behavior of the disruptive chanters. It is suspected that some of those drowning out the prayer belonged to the group Indivisible.

“A lot of Democrats approached us tonight and said they were embarrassed and apologized. They said those activists did not represent them or what they are about,” she said. “I thought that was an interesting dynamic.”

As previously reported, a similar situation occurred in Louisiana in February as State Chaplain Michael Sprague announced that he would open U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s town hall meeting with a word of prayer.

“Prayer?!” one woman exclaimed.

“Separation of Church and State!” others declared.

After pausing a moment in surveying the chaos in the room, Sprague began to pray, still being interrupted by protesters who talked through the invocation.

The gathering seemed to quiet down to an extent after several seconds, but as he spoke the words “We pray in Jesus’ name,” the room again erupted in loud shouts of disapproval. Sprague recalled to reporters that there were exclamations of “Lucifer” and that some referred to him as a Nazi.

“I’ve never been shouted down throughout a time of prayer like that,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation like that. It’s sad there wasn’t honor and respect for God.”

“People ask me all the time if I am mad at the people seemingly speaking out against God and Jesus. My answer is that I’m not mad, but I am sad that it has come to this in our country,” Sprague also shared. “We need to remember that Jesus has been booed many, many times and He will be booed again.”


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  • InTheChurch

    Why don’t these liberal activists go to the capital and shout when they start with an invocation?

    • james blue

      What was your opinion of the Christians who disrupted the first Hindu prayer given in the senate?

      • InTheChurch

        I was not aware of it so can you please post the reference or article. I would be upset that they are protesting.

        • james blue

          This site doesn’t allow links, but go to youtube and enter “v=HKt6F2tUN9Q” in the search box to get a link for a video where an atheist was shouted over by Christians as he gave an invocation at a public school board meeting. The video is– “Okaloosa County School Board Meeting Chaos”

          For the Hindu prayer in the senate enter “v=oLvaxjd1lIc” in the youtube search box — “Hindu Prayer Interrupted in U.S. Senate”

          • InTheChurch

            Thank you and I will look these up. I would stand in respect or stay silent during any invocation. No matter the religion.

          • InTheChurch

            I am viewing the school meeting right now. Who was suppose to do the invocation originally? it does not say.
            that atheist is worshiping and chanting. he is not an atheist. he is worshiping the devil and doing something. he is referring to all religions. Why?
            i will say, my peeps are having church. They felt it and had church in that hall.

          • james blue

            He is an Atheist making a point. However the focus isn’t the speaker, it’s the crowd reaction. I’m simply drawing attention to the fact that it’s not a one sided habit.

          • InTheChurch

            I would say both. He is displaying other religion’s chants and “prayers” which is against the very nature of an atheist. I have spoken to many on here and they would probably not do those chants. They would argue, discuss and debate but not practice a religion. If you have attended a Pentecostal church, that is a normal way of worshiping God. We pray out loud, we speak in tongues and we let lose for God. That is what that crowd was doing. I think that praying man was getting in his face towards the end. I would not do that but I would pray out loud. I agree, both were getting louder and louder. And I still don’t know who was scheduled to do the invocation. if you noticed, not one school board member was sitting in their chair and in the hall. It was just the people. Did they just let that happen? They did not step in or try to take control.

          • james blue

            But the crowd was doing it OVER him. They were not respectfully waiting ‘their turn”, they were doing the same thing that is being tut tutted in the article, just using different words.

          • InTheChurch

            I agree. But again, who was the invited guest to do the invocation? that person had the right to speak first and only. So, we need to know that.

    • David Williamson

      Legislative prayer is the only kind of government prayer on which the courts have ruled. This is not a legislative session.

      • Patriot

        Did she order you to post that?

      • Jason Todd

        The First Amendment doesn’t say anything about who, what or where someone can pray. It says Congress cannot create its own religion or keep people from practicing theirs.

        You just don’t like it whenever someone mentions God or Jesus.

        Get over it.

        • Johndoe

          Where did he say anything about the mention of god or jesus?

        • David Williamson

          Oh, wait, Were you the same Jason Todd that just wrote: “Including the First [Amendment], which actually allows prayer.”? You can’t be because then you would actually be contradicting yourself. Let’s assume there are two of you and this Jason Todd agrees with me in that the First Amendment says nothing about prayer.

          What the First Amendment says and things we attribute to it are clearly different. The drafters of the Constitution actually considered more specific language and settled on this after much consideration.

          As to what it has become for us, sure, we read into this what is and is not permitted, but there was clearly a desire by the founders to avoid a law respecting an establishment of religion. The courts (which now decide what the Constitution means) have determined,“The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” This has been repeated numerous times since it was part of the Epperson v. Arkansas decision.

          • Jason Todd

            Oh, wait, Were you the same Jason Todd that just wrote: “Including the First [Amendment], which actually allows prayer.”? You can’t be because then you would actually be contradicting yourself. Let’s assume there are two of you and this Jason Todd agrees with me in that the First Amendment says nothing about prayer.

            Actually it does. I have already pointed out where. You are saying that, and you are wrong.

            What the First Amendment says and things we attribute to it are clearly different. The drafters of the Constitution actually considered more specific language and settled on this after much consideration.

            What matters is what the Constitution says, not your anti-Christian fantasies.

            As to what it has become for us, sure, we read into this what is and is not permitted, but there was clearly a desire by the founders to avoid a law respecting an establishment of religion.

            Exactly. Our Founding Fathers did not want a Church of England clone. But they did not want a Godless society, either (That’s what you want.). That’s why the First Amendment prohibits the creation of a religion while keeping the government from interfering when others practice theirs.

            The courts

            are not relevant.

    • David Williamson

      Actually this was done by Mitch Kahle in Hawaii. It didn’t go so well for the state.

      The fact is, though, legislative prayer has been reviewed by the courts twice. In 1983, in Marsh v. Chambers and in 2014 in Greece v. Galloway.

      Town hall and legislative delegation meetings ARE NOT legislative meetings. They are public hearings.

      • InTheChurch

        Thank you for the info and the references. I will look those up.
        I should have said the Capital in Washington DC.

  • Fang

    Just like two-year-olds. Got nothing worth hearing, they just love to make noise and attention. These people are emotionally retarded. They must be very unhappy at home or they wouldn’t feel this sick compulsion to make fools of themselves in public.

  • bowie1

    It seems to me the local municipal town hall does not represent the state since the state is at a different level. Therefore it’s not really any mixing of church and state.

    • Peter Leh

      applies at all levels. If you open up prayer you open it up for all.

      Bad manners like this booing still falls under free speech

      • bowie1

        It seems to me the protestors are just a bunch of intolerant bigots.

        • Peter Leh

          LOL probably… still, even those people have free speech.

        • james blue

          What was your opinion of the Christians who disrupted the first Hindu prayer given in the senate or those who shouted down this atheist giving an invocation This site doesn’t allow links so you’ll need to go to youtube and enter this “v=HKt6F2tUN9Q” in the search box to get a link the video is
          “Okaloosa County School Board Meeting Chaos”

          • bowie1

            Wasn’t there (or aware of it) but I would simply wait by the side and let them continue but not participate.

          • james blue

            But would you view those who shouted/ loudly prayed or quoted bible over the Atheist or the Hindu as “intolerant bigots” the same way you do with the people in the article?

          • Robert

            No because that time it was all a trick
            By those hindu atheists to make them use there free speech rights and look bad. I give a course on Wednesday night how to spot Hindu atheists and other tricksters. 7 hundred and 42 dollars but for you I will make it half price that’s only 5 hundred and 97 dollars. If you don’t add state taxes

          • bowie1

            In a similar vein some years ago there was small contingent of gay activists in the local Canada Day Parade but I simply turned around and ignored them and did not shout them down.

          • Robert

            What were you thinking? To miss a wonderful opportunity like that.

          • Robert

            I liked that! didn’t you?

    • Sisyphus

      The “state” is a relatively generic term for the government since Westphalia, but cities are technically extensions of the State of Michigan. That doesn’t negate the fact the protestors are attention whores.

    • David Williamson

      Bowie, the 14th amendment incorporates the Bill of Rights in the states.

      • Jason Todd

        Including the First, which actually allows prayer, no matter how much you hate it.

        • Johndoe

          Students may pray all they want but the problem arises when it is teacher led or school promoted.

          • David Williamson

            That’s right, Johndoe. Unfortunately, teachers and administrators around the country promote and participate in Christian religious clubs. Let’s hope the same people breaking those rules aren’t the ones complaining about a student-led, student-initiated event by a religion with which they disagree.

        • David Williamson

          Jason, Can you show me where the First Amendment permits prayer? Thanks!

          Go ahead and leave your assumptions of my “hate” out of the argument. It doesn’t make your point any clearer, just your motivation.

          • Johndoe

            Exactly

          • Jason Todd

            Jason, Can you show me where the First Amendment permits prayer?

            “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

            Go ahead and leave your assumptions of my “hate” out of the argument.

            Then you won’t have an argument at all.

            Which is basically the point, isn’t it?

  • William of Glynn

    It’s usually the other way around.

  • Amos Moses

    The first amendment was not designed to protect your fragile feelings. It was designed to harbor free thought. You have two choices if you do not like something you hear.
    1.) Ignore it.
    2.) Say something back.
    If you are unable to do either of those things, it makes you a coward. Being “offended” is not a valid third option. Neither is shouting down the opposition to silence them.

    • james blue

      Why do you not think the 1st protects their right to talk or shout?

      • Amos Moses

        they can shout all they want ….. but to use it to shut down the opposing sides speech is a violation of free speech as if they are not allowed to speak at all ………. again …. do not like what you are hearing …. walk away … stick your fingers in your ears …… but a public meeting is open to the public ….. and the 1st INCLUDES religious speech ……..

        • james blue

          I think you are confusing being rude with violating free speech. The 1st only protects us from government preventing speech, it doesn’t protect us from private citizens speaking or shouting over us.

          We are free to speak, we are not guaranteed a platform or willing audience.

          What was your opinion of the Christians who disrupted the first Hindu prayer given in the senate or those who shouted down the atheist giving an invocation at a public school board meeting?

          This site doesn’t allow links, but go to youtube and enter “v=HKt6F2tUN9Q” in the search box to get a link. The video is “Okaloosa County School Board Meeting Chaos”

          • Amos Moses

            no confusion ….. it is a tactic long used and it works well ….. for the exact reason you have enumerated …. i.e. ….. “it doesn’t protect us from private citizens speaking or shouting over us” and paid GOVERNMENT shills do it all the time ……….

          • james blue

            Again, you are free to speak, nobody is compelled to listen or be silent while you do.

          • Amos Moses

            then DONT LISTEN ……… we do not care ………. but if they want to show their PREJUDICE ….. then by all means …… they can YELL to their hearts content …… it will not alter the truth they do not want to hear ………

  • Amos Moses

    Sissified …………… /SMH ………

  • BuckeyePhysicist

    The left never complains about the separation of mosque and state.

    • David Williamson

      Show me where this is a problem, and I’ll fix it.

      • Robert

        promise ? Mecca for sure so settle that one first and then I’ll show you some here in the u.s. to

        • David Williamson

          You got nothing in the U.S. or you would have gone there first.

          • Robert

            Stop trying to get out of what you said..

          • David Williamson

            We were both talking about the U.S., then you realized you don’t know what you are talking about. The joke isn’t distracting anyone.

            So, do you have a “mosque and state” problem in the U.S. or do you intend to change the subject again?

          • Jason Todd

            And you are a liar.

            We can start with Dearborn. Then to the lawsuits regarding the forced conversions to Islam in public schools.

            And how about that Islamic prayer room for students in a Texas high school?

            WHO doesn’t know what they’re talking about?

          • David Williamson

            Someone is moderating these comments and deleting mine. They are not following their guidelines. I am done here.

          • Jason Todd

            Nobody is deleting your comments.

            If I could, I would cast a spotlight on them. You are just another anti-Christian bigot, coming to a Christian website, entertaining some wild, half-baked fantasy that all you need to do is make a single post and everyone will immediately become an atheist.

            News flash: People have come before you. People will come after you. Nothing will change. And we are not amused.

          • Coach

            Except that one, right!

          • Robert

            No. I decided your last argument about you both talking about the u.s. has merit .So you won this one. I hope your really proud of your self making me loose when I needed to win so badly.. to impress every one. This whole thing now is very depressing I think I will go find and eat some worms.

      • Go USA

        You? Because you are the ultimate authority in the US, right?

        But hey, let’s play your game. Start with removing CAIR’s influence on democrat members in congress.

    • james blue

      Other than all the times they do you are correct, they don’t

    • Chet

      Don’t have the guts to do so…

  • Trilemma

    There’s a limit to what the First Amendment protects as free speech. What these hecklers did should not be protected by the First Amendment and they should have been escorted out of the room. The government is not required to give hecklers a platform for their freedom of speech.

    • David Williamson

      Nor is it permitted to promote religion in the form of prayer or religious worship using the machinery of the government. Two wrongs DO NOT make it right, I agree.

      Don’t miss the point they made, though, simply because you think they were rude.

      • Trilemma

        What the hecklers did was clearly wrong and possibly illegal. Whether or not the invocation was wrong is for a court of law to decide. The article doesn’t give enough information to say if it was.

      • Adagio Cantabile

        Plug your ears, you poor delicate thing.

  • David Williamson

    Legislative prayer is the only kind of government prayer on which the courts have ruled. This is not a legislative session and no prayer should be said.

    • Patriot

      Another henpecked liberal.

      • David Williamson

        Another off-topic, ad homenim, bad argument.

  • Robert

    I think there should be more separation of dressing stupid and state . did they even bother to look in the mirror before they showed up. Also acting stupid in a state needs to be separated from.

  • David MacKenzie

    Historical Irony: the man most responsible for the introduction of the phrase, “wall of separation (between Church and State)” into the American vernacular (Thomas Jefferson), in effect, prayed for the Danbury Baptists in the very same letter from whence the phrase is quoted.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    USA needs the Church for morality and civility and sanity, not just for the life-saving Gospel. Man cannot be separated from his conscience and be good; nations cannot be separated from the Church and do what is right.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    American Founding Fathers expected all Americans to be Christian-moral always and for-ever, not this. Christian prayer is a good thing; those who oppose it are bad people.

  • Coach

    So I went over to ffrf and found they had articles, but you couldn’t comment on them. Amazing how atheists will comment on these articles, but their site is very intolerant to the idea of someone contradicting their indoctrination.

  • Georgie Franklin

    Ha Ha. Love it!

  • Chet

    Those democrats saddened by their peers might as well face facts as this rude, crude anti God anti Christ behaviour is the face of their modernist party.

  • Go USA

    No one bothers to check history, or facts.
    The so-called speration of church and states does not exist in the Constitution.
    That was in a letter as a concept to protect the church and faith from the state.
    The convention that placed restriction on congress not to issue laws based on religious grounds opened with prayer. That clearly says while government should not be based on religious grounds, it does not need to be hostile to religion.