Supporters Push Back After Michigan Supervisor Criticized for Posting Prayer for Brussels on Facebook

Stathakis-compressedSHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Dozens are pushing back with words of support after a supervisor in Michigan came under fire last week for posting Scripture and a prayer on his Facebook page following the terror attack in Brussels that killed over 30 people.

Rick Stathakis, the supervisor for Shelby Township, posted a Bible verse in response to the deadly assault on Tuesday, quoting from Psalm 46:1-2, which reads, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…”

His post also included a prayer for those affected by terror in Brussels.

“Mighty God, Shine your radiance into every corner of this dark and fallen world. Send your angel armies into Brussels, and heal the land,” Stathakis wrote. “Hear the prayers of those who call to you, calm them with Your peace, and soothe the souls of those who lost loved ones in this attack. Amen.”

But after the supervisor published the status, he was met with criticism by those who asserted that he had violated the separation of church and state.

“As a government official, it is unconstitutional for you to use your official position to promote the establishment of faith. It violates the most basic legal principles of the United States of America. In addition to being unconstitutional, it is highly offensive to your constituents. Please remove all religious references from government materials and keep your faith to yourself,” one commenter, Rafael Saakyan, wrote.

“Why didn’t you post a prayer for the Ivory Coast? Since you’re in a praying mood. I guess Al Qaeda gets a pass since all they did is kill Africans. Keep your prayers between yourself & God,” another with the screen name Thomas Ivory wrote.

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But others who learned of the criticism pushed back to show support for Stathakis, largely outweighing the critics.

“So President Obama says ‘God bless America’ when concluding a speech, acting as president, but people claim you cannot offer up prayer on your personal page. Sir, they are wrong,” wrote commenter Mary Weeks.

“May God bless you for your boldness in acknowledging that God is our only refuge and hope in this fallen and sin cursed world. Keep praying, Rick, and stay true to your convictions,” wrote another named Rick Willms.

“I personally don’t believe in God, but you have every right to talk about your religion. This is America and you’re allowed to believe in who you want and able to talk about it publicly!” remarked commenter Jenna Pett. “Thank you for praying for those in need. You’re a great man.”

Stathakis says that he also sees no issue with his post and will not back down.

“It’s my webpage. It’s my personal webpage,” Stathakis told WWJ-TV. “And what’s really sad is it’s not about me, it’s about the people in Brussels. It was just a simple prayer asking God to be at their side, and all of a sudden now it’s become pointed at me.”

“I’m very shocked by all the attention I’m receiving,” he told reporters, noting that not all response is negative. “I’m encouraged by the support. I’m getting hundreds of people writing into me, emails and different posts.”

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  • chukobuk

    It’s also a matter of whether the township supervisor is using township resources to post to facebook. Is the computer or phone he uses to make posts given to him by the township? Does he post during township work hours for which he receives a salary? It’s certainly arguable whether the township supervisor’s facebook page is a government website versus a personal website since the township supervisor posts are identified under his official government alter ego and he posts no personal information on the site except expressions of religious fervor. It is composed entirely of township business and promotional postings, there is no other township facebook page, and other posters refer to the supervisor’s facebook page as the township’s facebook page. There are real issues of religious establishment that should be investigated by a court.

    • Josey

      he said it was his personal page, read the article

      • Ambulance Chaser

        I just went and looked. It’s not. It’s his page as town supervisor. There are prayers and Bible quotes all over it.

  • Melissa Windom

    There are frequent prayers in the House and Senate during work hours, so what is the problem?

  • Roger Culver

    Some people idiotically think that just because you work for the government you are not allowed to show your Christian faith. This is wrong! The First Amendment does not allow the government to rule that only one religion can be here. And it also says that the government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. He has every right to pray for anyone he chooses to pray for.

  • If it is his own personal facebook page ….no problem …he did not loose his personal freedom of speech just because he is a public servant ! those that are picking out gnats and swallowing camels need to get a life !

  • bowie1

    If it is his personal Facebook Page then it is nobody’s business to criticize him for it.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      It’s not. It’s his township supervisor page.

      • bowie1

        It says in the article it is his personal Facebook Page.

        • Ambulance Chaser

          I’m not lying to you. I’m looking right at it. But if you don’t believe me, you can go to Facebook and see for yourself.

          • disqus_O2BUmbLecp

            No, that is his personal Facebook page with a listing of his occupation as the Shelby Township Supervisor.
            …….Shelby Township has its own official Facebook page. So do the ShelbyTownship Police Dept n Fire Dept.

          • Slidellman4life

            But that is not the point. Just because he works for the city does not mean he has to check his religious beliefs at the door.

            He was expressing sympathy through prayer for the people of Brussels. The fact people were having a spaz over it shows the lack of tolerance from anti-Christian bigots.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            No, he doesn’t have to “check his religious beliefs at the door.” But he does have to refrain from expressing them in his official capacity as supervisor.

  • Dio Jones

    Its only free speech anymore if its “anti-god” speech

    Always be a light that is .shininginthedark.

  • Herb Planter

    Jesus Rules!

  • Manuel Gonzalez

    He looks like a decent fellow, someone comfortable in his own skin. Compare that face with the angry faces of activists, people who are made at the world and intend to stay that way. Who would you want as a friend or neighbor? Activists have nothing but their hate to live on. Have you ever seen a homosexual who looked really happy?

  • Polly Stinson

    This is wired… I’ll tell the world that i’m A Christian. I’m NOT afraid and i’m NOT ashamed. I’ll tell the world that i’m A Christian. I’ll take it with me anywhere…. Never be afraid of what the earthly government will say or do to you for you a A child of the heavenly King… Just be proud of who you are and whom you serve and your Father who loves you unconditionally will be proud of you. Dare to be A Daniel!!!…Dare to stand alone!!… Dare to have A purpose firm and dare to make it known…. Yes…indeed… my dear brothers and sisters in Christ… Daniel wasn’t afraid of the earthly government’s rules and he didn’t care about the consequences he was going to face cause he was A very righteous man in the eyes of God and Daniel believed God was NEVER going to fail him but to save him from those lions… Daniel is A very good example for you and me today especially in these last days…. Only fear what God’s government will do to us and never fear what the earthly government’s punishments for disobedience.