The prayer is voluntary and non-denominational, and the oath says simply, “I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon my God, my country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines.” The Sheriff’s Office has never had any complaints, but when the Department of Justice discovered the prayer and the oath during a random audit, they demanded that both be removed, or the program would not continue to receive its $15,000 in federal funding. The Department called the prayer and the oath “inherently religious activities” and told the Sheriff to sign a pledge agreeing that “no prayer or mention of God would be allowed.”
Sheriff Julian Whittington refused and told the Department of Justice it could keep its money. He said, “It’s about the principle of the issue that the Department of Justice can come down here in Bossier City, in our building, and tell us that what these young people recited—a voluntary prayer—is offensive.”
This incident shows how extensive the assault on religious liberty and belief in God has become. We’ve grown used to ACLU lawsuits and attacks by atheist activists, but this was a preemptive strike by the Obama Administration. The prayer and oath had offended no one, and the Young Marines program in question is affiliated with the U.S. Marine Corps, which includes mention of God in its own oath. The Department of Justice’s behavior is outrageous.
Listen to the radio commentary here: