RICHMOND, VA - Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is defending how his administration forced the sudden resignation of five Virginia State Police Chaplains because they prayed publicly "in Jesus' name." Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty single-handedly created, then enforced, a strict "non-sectarian" prayer policy at all public gatherings, censoring and excluding Christian prayers, then accepted the resignation of five chaplains who refused to deny Jesus or violate their conscience by watering down their prayers.
House Republican Leader Morgan Griffith and Delegate Charles W. Carrico, (R-Grayson) both issued public statements defending the chaplains, questioning Governor Kaine's role in the affair, and vowing to introduce legislation protecting police chaplains' right to pray according to their own conscience.
Defending Flaherty's persecution of Christian Chaplains, Governor Kaine indicated he himself was being persecuted, saying through his spokesman: "It is disappointing that Delegate Griffith would make such a political attack on Governor Kaine about his faith."
Former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who was also fired in 2007 for praying "in Jesus' name" in uniform (but won the victory in the US Congress for other military chaplains), weighed in:
"Governor Kaine campaigned like a Christian to get our votes. But now, instead of governing like a Christian, or respecting his own chaplains' First Amendment rights, his administration forced the resignation of five police chaplains, simply because they prayed publicly 'in Jesus' name.'
"These five chaplains lost their jobs for honoring Christ. They're heroes of the faith, because they refused to deny Jesus when ordered to by the Kaine administration. And now Governor Kaine pretends he's the martyr, because we question why his administration forced them to resign for praying to Jesus? He's still got a job, they don't. Governor Kaine isn't the martyr, he's the persecutor."