Prayer pays: City fines pastor’s wife $150 for loud devotions

A North Dakota woman has been fined for loudly praying in her neighborhood, forced to pay $150 for “unnecessary noise.”

Martha Nagbe is a Liberian-born pastor’s wife who says she has an inalienable right to pray, even in a voice so loud police say it is infringing on neighbors' sleep.

“In the United States, it’s one nation under God,” she told Valley News Live the other day.

Police in Lisbon have ticketed Nagbe for disturbing the peace, after spotting her on city sidewalks toting a Bible and singing verses of praise.

“I mean, we all need prayers and, great, she’s out there praying for all of us -- but it’s just the volume of her voice,” Police Chief Jeanette Parsons told the station.

She said officers have had to respond to complaints from people who say they were awakened by Nagbe, who allegedly was standing outside their homes shouting.

“It’s not that she just walks by, but she will stand out there for a lengthy period of time,” the police chief said.

Nagbe’s husband, pastor of a United Methodist Church in Lisbon, says his wife is the one being harassed.

“For them to antagonize her, to make her look like a bad person, sometimes makes me angry,” Pastor Juwle Nagbe said. “Somebody should give her the respect that she deserves.”

Chief Parsons said Nagbe risks more fines if she doesn’t lower the volume on her public praying.