Volunteer chaplains in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Police Department have been ordered to stop using the name of Jesus in their prayers at official ceremonies.
Maj. John Diggs, overseer of the chaplain program, explained that the goal is to be more sensitive to all religions. The department's employees include Muslims and Jews as well.
"(It's a) matter of respecting that people may have different faiths and that it is not aimed at any one religion or denomination," he said.
Pastor Terry Sartain, with Horizon Christian Fellowship, said he was saddened by the new policy.
"I'm a pastor and Jesus is the only thing I have to offer to bless people - his life and his person," he told FOX News Radio.
"It brings about a very real concern about where we are heading as a nation," he said. "I serve a God who loves people unconditionally, who died for their sins on the cross, who wants to reconcile himself to them and love them where they are at - and now I'm told I can't bless people as a result of that."
Diggs said they will find a replacement for any chaplain who refuses to comply.
The new directive applies to events like police graduations, memorials, and promotions.
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