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ACLU eyes district wide prayer event at Richmond schools

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Richmond city council member Michelle Mosby says violence in schools nationwide is out of control.

"I don't ever want to get that call, I just don’t want to get that call," said Mosby

She dreads ever getting a call that tragedy has hit Richmond, a concern that gave away to motivation, she said.

"I woke up one morning and it's what God had given me," said Mosby.

Mosby says it was a divine inspiration that gave her the idea to organize a community hour of prayer this Saturday at all 49 Richmond public  school buildings.

Mosby and Richmond council member Cynthia Newbille have rounded up faith leaders from all over the Richmond area.  However  her event is also catching the attention  of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The government is not in a position legally to sponsor prayer," said Claire Gastanaga, of the Richmond ACLU.

The organization is asking for more details about the event as they believe it could raise constitutional questions about the separation of church and state.

"If city council members are in their official capacity and they're using city resources, then they've really put the city in jeopardy,” said Gastanaga.

Flyers distributed for the event list Newbille and Mosby as council members and sponsors of the community prayer. Mosby’s staff person employed by the city is listed as the point of contact, and even though the event is not put on by the city, the few hundred fliers were printed in city council offices by city staffers.

“I guess you're dealing with an out of the box thinker," said Mosby when asked about the decision to print the flyers at city hall.

As a first term council member Mosby saID she's still learning the ropes and taking creative risks. She says her motives are good ones and was simply trying to get as many people to attend the event as possible.

"I don't mind being told this is how you need to tweak it, I'm OK with that," she said.

Mosby also added that if the city wants her to pay for the paper used, she is more than happy to return it.  The event is this Saturday at noon.


  • Don

    Stand firm council member Mosby and Newbille. Separation of Church and state is to keep the state from influencing decisions of faith. Not to keep faith out of our state!

    Continue praying for our nation, our children, and our schools…

  • Anita

    Separation of church and state has NEVER been written in the Constitution. I wish leaders of government and these groups would actually be required to read the document. The statement that has been so taken out of context was written in a private letter NOT in the Constitution! Therefore, this is a right we have…just we have allowed it to be taken away since the late 60’s!!! Time to take a stand!!!

    • Karen Ireland Kantor

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • artviii

    Historically in America, prayer and government go hand in hand.
    Thomas Jefferson writes this prayer in his Second Inaugural Address:,”..the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power: and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship and approbations of all nations.”

    In Christian America, the secular insurrection is the work of corrupted law supported by a propaganda machine of name it to claim it for atheism. It is the duty of every sensible American to respond to this threat against moral liberty and justice by upholding their charter, the Declaration of 1776. America’s social compact, the Declaration, stands as a beacon to light and liberty. It declares we are nation whose rights are defined by a Creator and whose rectitude is defined by the Supreme Judge. Let us pray to that Being who rules over the nations that His counsel will always guide our councils, and pray that the heart of every true American will hear the call of Heaven to defend their conviction that God and His law is a safest harbor for every man’s life, liberty, and property.

  • Richard P Weiss

    This is getting old. If there wasn’t a separation of church and state, Jessica Ahlquist would have lost her fight to remove a religious banner from her high school. The ACLU and FFRF are going to have a field day with this, and win.

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