Ohio City Councilman Refuses to Stop Presenting Prayers in Jesus’ Name

Prayer Bible pdCUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — An Ohio city councilman has refused to stop presenting prayers in the name of Jesus despite having come under fire from a prominent atheist activist organization, as well as a number of area residents who find the prayer offensive.

City Council members in Cuyahoga Falls recently received copies of a letter sent to the city from the Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). The letter asserted that invocations during council meetings that end with “in Jesus’ name we pray” violate the U.S. Constitution.

According to reports, city council meetings used to open with inspirational poems, quotes and/or a moment of silence, but since Councilman Terry Mader was appointed as chaplain this past January, prayers have been presented in Jesus’ name. It is not known how FFRF became involved in the matter, but the organization customarily sends letters to city officials following the receipt of a local complaint.

As a result of the controversy, approximately 200 area residents attended the council meeting on Monday to hear discussion on the matter, including several local pastors and faith-based leaders who stood to voice their support of the prayers.

“Regardless of what some people believe, we were not founded to be secular,” said Chris McCombs of Broadman Baptist Church. “While legislative prayer may offend some—I acknowledge that—it in no way violates the Constitution. However, the removal of prayer would do more than offend some … It would send a message that we won’t stand on principle, but that we would cower to the threats of bullies.”

Local resident Sheryl Aronson, who identifies as Jewish, told those gathered that the use of the name of Jesus makes her feel alienated.

“When someone invokes a prayer at a public meeting that is meant to include everyone at the meeting and the prayer ends with words like ‘in Christ’s name’ [or] ‘in Jesus’ name,’ I feel left out,” she said. “In your own mind, you can say ‘in Christ’s name.’ It doesn’t lose any power by being said silently. It doesn’t gain any power by being said out loud.”

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But despite those who said that the prayers were problematic, Councilman Mader said that he would not stop praying in the name of Jesus.

“If I, as a Christian, am embarrassed to share his name, then He is going to be embarrassed in recognizing me in my relationship with him,” he declared.

According to the Cuyahoga Falls News Press, Mader said that his relationship with Christ is more important than the offense that men might have at the mention of his name. He stated that some that he has approached for counsel have advised to invoking the name of Jesus, but he will not do so.

The argument comes at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on whether it is permissible for municipalities to present prayers predominantly in Jesus’ name, especially if area residents are largely Christian or Catholic. 

As previously reported, the court accepted the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway last May, a legal challenge that centers on the invocations that are offered at town hall meetings in Greece, New York, just outside of Rochester. Local residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens are contending in the suit that the prayers made them feel “marginalized” as they are not followers of the Christian faith. Galloway is Jewish and Stephens is an atheist.

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  • Webb

    If he prayed “in Satan’s name” it would be perfectly acceptable, even encouraged. America is in its death throes.

    • Blizno

      Really? You really believe that?

      Of course the answer is no. It would not be accepted. It would not be accepted any more than “In the name of Allah, Peace be upon Him” would be accepted.

      The issue, of course, is using government to promote religion. Doing so is wrong and has always been illegal in USA. Christians have been getting away with breaking the law for a very long time. Citizens are starting to demand that the law be obeyed.

  • Mark Moore

    What good is it being a Christian if you can’t force it on others? And what better place to subjugate an audience that at a government function. If you can’t torture them like Jesus, you can arrest them.

    • jean5ez

      To be present or to overhear doesn’t constitute being forced into anything. To be tortured or arrested for your believes or lack thereof is not an american speciality yet, and in the countries where it is common, its not advised to mention Jesus’s name publicly anyway.

    • Mark

      Feeling alienated is a PERSONAL problem, NOT a community problem. Seek counseling for your PERSONAl problems, not demand the community kiss your butt over your PERSONAL feelings of alienation.

  • Gary M Baker

    The time is coming when we all, are going to have to make a choice, witch side of this issue are we going to stand on. I’m telling you it’s not going to be long, and it may, happen so fast that people don’t have time to figure it out just what is happing you had better know what your going to do and when to do it .I know people don’t believe that things in this country can change as fast as what they are going to. When is it going to happen? I don’t know the exact time nor do I know the exact time when Jesus is coming . But as God is my witness I am warning everyone who reads this. This may be the last warning you get from me, or from anyone else for that matter, that we had better have some PERSONAL spiritual discernment to understand, and wisdom of the spirit to know what to do in the times we are living in and the only way we can get that is you MUST be born again. Yes I am a alarmist and I am sounding the alarm as loud as I can while I still can. No I am not crazy you can think that if you want to. You can even be ashamed of me if you want to I’m telling you this because I love you and I don’t want to see any one lost…Are you ready to receive Jesus as your Savior you don’t have to be at Church you can do it right now just repent be sorry for your sins and ask him to save you. Save you from what you say? from the wrath of God that’s coming upon the earth for disobedience and refusal to believe in his son, from eternal death and HELL, first you must believe that he is the Son of God and that he went to the Cross and shed his Blood and gave his life for a ransom for us but you must take it personal John 3 : 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. However there is no guarantee that we will not suffer in this life Matthew 10 : 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the END shall be saved…..Matt 16 : 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it……Matt 19 : 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life……Matt 24 : 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake…….Even so come Lord Jesus. God Bless. REV.Gary M Baker

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      Amen, Gary Baker! Thank you very much for sharing the Gospel in an ever-darkening world. And, John Watson, thank you for spanking the liberal trolls on the basics of the Constitution. They always have trouble with basic prepositions: confusing “freedom FROM religion” with “freedom OF religion.” Perhaps they should be sent back to grammar school. 🙂

  • June Adkins

    I am a christian from Columbus Ohio, and I feel that what this Councilman is doing is being a great servant for our Lord. I think the athiests has something to fear(God of course) or they wouldn’t be making such a big deal about what christians are doing. If you don’t believe in God why fight so hard to stop us from following God and doing His will? You know deep within yourselves that God is real, you are just having a hard time admitting it to yourselves. Just know this, no matter what you do or how hard you try, you will NEVER KEEP US FROM OUR GOD!

  • luz munguia

    thanks for sharing your faith! I also believed!