Around a year ago, The Eye heard about one of those non-news events peculiar to the Palmetto State that gets everybody all lathered up and becomes a news story with national legs that makes the good people of South Carolina look like morons to the rest of the nation.
Remember The Lizard Man? The Confederate flag fiasco? The Eye could go on for days…
It all started in Great Falls, S.C., when Darla Wynne attended a city council meeting and witnessed council members openly engaging and leading Christian prayers before attending to city business.
Wynne, a Wiccan priestess, contacted the Piedmont Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) when the Great Falls City Council refused to stop leading the prayers.
The whole mess got rather hostile on both sides, with Wynne eventually prevailing in the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals over whether or not prayer that mentions Jesus favors one religious faith.
The Great Falls City Council was also ordered to pay Wynne’s legal fees — something that has yet to materialize.
Now there’s a real shocker, noted The Eye.
Anyway, last week the Anderson, S.C. City Council unanimously approved a policy that would appear to allow members to invoke the name of Jesus during opening prayers despite the Appeals Court order disallowing the mention of a specific deity.
Talk about beating a dead horse, mused The Eye.
Anderson Mayor Richard Shirley told the Associated Press he intended to pray to Jesus in his city council meetings, “The conditions present in Great Falls, however, do not exist here and never have.”
What that meant was lost on The Eye.
The official policy states, “The City Council expressly states that this moment of prayer should not be viewed as an attempt to establish a religion.”
Uh-huh, but saying just don’t make it so.
It continues, “Attendance during the prayer by a council member or the general public is not a requirement to participate in the City Council meeting.”
Shirley says the policy is needed not only to protect his right to “pray to Jesus Christ as my Savior, but to ensure this diverse population just over the horizon has the right to pray to God in their own way 10, 20, or 50 years from now.”
That reasoning was so circular that The Eye is still dizzy.
Just because somebody’s been doing something for a long time doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do … or even vaguely constitutional.