RELIGION

Mayor resigns after getting threats over plan to stop prayer

A village mayor who's an Air Force veteran resigned after saying he received threats over a plan to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer at council meetings.

Carey Mayor Armand Getz said he decided to end the pledge and prayer to avoid potential lawsuits, noting that a Michigan village was sued over reciting the prayer at its meetings.

He said he thought about how someone else might feel attending a council meeting.

"Would they feel comfortable refraining from saying the prayer or Pledge of Allegiance, or would they feel coerced into participating despite their personal beliefs?" Getz said.

Since the decision two weeks ago, he said he's received threats that demand both the prayer and pledge being reinstated. He would not elaborate on specifics of those threats.

The Courier newspaper in Findlay reports residents in the northwestern Ohio village spoke out against removing the pledge, calling the idea disrespectful.

The village council on Monday passed a resolution signaling it wants to restore the pledge and add a moment of silence before meetings.

The mayor, who served in the Persian Gulf and in the reserves, then announced he was stepping down, as did the village law director, who said she also had received threats.

"Reciting the prayer at our council meetings is not a religious test nor is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance proof of our patriotism, nor should they be," Getz 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," he said.