The national trend toward religious discrimination shows no signs of slowing as news breaks today of a shopping mall in a rural Georgia town that will allow no prayer on its premises, not even over meals in its restaurants.
Todd Starnes of Fox News is reporting that the incident occurred in Dublin, Georgia concerning Tammy Brantley, a wife, mother, and power walker who co-founded the Dublin Girls Run. The group combines Southern faith and fellowship with physical fitness and is well-known in the area for dressing up like Chick-fil-A cows or sporting tutus and feather boas on their many runs.
However, they’re not just concerned with the fitness of the body; the health of the souls matters just as much.
“The group was started to be healthy and to be spiritually healthy, too,” Tammy told Starnes. “I like to start off my runs with a prayer and end it with a prayer.”
A few weeks ago, the Girls gathered at the local mall for an evening power walk and, like always, began their workout by forming a circle, bowing their heads, and praying to God. They’d only uttered a few works when a mall cop suddenly interrupted them.
“You are not allowed to pray at the mall. That’s against the policy,” the guard told Tammy.
The Girls were shocked.
“I told him we’ve been praying since last November and no one said anything about it,” Tammy said.
The guard explained that they had a problem with a religious group trying to proselytize shoppers. Because the Girls weren’t trying to convert anyone, they asked to please speak with the mall manager.
Unfortunately, what the guard told them was true. “The mall manager verified that prayer is not allowed at the mall because this is private property,” she said.
In fact, patrons aren’t even allowed to pray over their meals at the mall’s food courts.
Several of the Girls admitted they were shaken by the incident.
“It’s very sad,” Tammy told Starnes. “It’s really heartbreaking.”
Mall officials have thus far refused to comment.
The Dublin girls have chosen to conduct their physical and spiritual exercise elsewhere and refuse to use the mall until it lifts its prayer ban.
“Who would have thought something like this could happen in the teeny-tiny town we live in?” Tammy asked.
If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
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