Prayers in the name of Jesus will no longer be offered at council meetings in a small South Carolina town after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a case brought by a Wiccan.
The high court’s decision this week not to take the case effectively upheld a 2004 appeals court decision barring prayers at town council meetings in Great Falls, reported The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C.
The paper said people around town were talking about the case that pitted Wiccan Darla Wynne, who filed suit in 2001, against the council.
“Even though the Supreme Court upheld this ruling, no one has stopped us from praying,” said the Rev. John Paul Sellars, pastor of Mount Dearborn United Methodist Church. “We may be stopped from verbally expressing ourselves, but God knows our hearts and our minds.”
The Herald said Wynne has been ostracized by the town.
“It’s been an eerie silence,” Wynne told the paper Wednesday. “The mailman is always very talkative to me. Today, he didn’t even speak to me, and that was an odd thing.”
Local resident Carlton Day, 78, said people should be able to pray anytime and anywhere.
“I don’t think it’s right with her telling the council what to do,” Day told The Herald. “I think the council should be able to pray the way they want.”
Willie Patterson, 60, said governments should seek spiritual counsel before making decisions.
“Jesus Christ — that’s the only name given in the Bible that you can be saved by,” Patterson said. “So why not use it at council meetings. The council meeting is for people to get things together. You can’t succeed at nothing without Jesus.”
Wynne vowed, however, she would keep up her fight.
“I’m still going to live here and one of the primary things that keeps me here is I’m not going to reward [the council’s] bad behavior,” she said.
Sellars, 26, asserted, nevertheless, the prayers at council meetings won’t end.
“The Christian is not going to pray to anyone else but Jesus Christ,” Sellars said. “No matter if we’re prevented from praying out loud, God hears our prayers.”