Freethought Today · May 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Two Ohio officials sacrifice their jobs to uphold First Amendment

FFRF applauds the courage of two local Ohio officials who sacrificed their positions to uphold the First Amendment.

The village of Carey's Mayor Armand Getz and Law Director Emily Beckley took the initiative to stop the Lord's Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited at Village Council meetings.

Shockingly, the pair received so many threats for their admirable actions that they resigned on April 1. And, sadly, the Village Council passed a resolution on March 20 to again introduce the Pledge, as well as a moment of silence, before each meeting.

Getz has served our nation with four years of active duty, saying his military background "serves to strengthen my resolve." He said, "If I thought for one minute that someone could conscientiously object to one or both the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance and not suffer any adverse consequences, I would have left it alone." Beckley had wisely given a legal opinion that the council dispense with prayer to avoid any potential lawsuit.

"It's stirring to actually find examples of public officials jeopardizing their positions for the sake of the Constitution," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "We are in awe of Mayor Getz and Law Director Beckley."

Getz and Beckley had the correct perspective; the Carey Village Council is mistaken.

"Reciting the Lord's Prayer at each Village Council meeting is unconstitutional," FFRF Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote in a March 30 letter to the Carey Village Council.

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