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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

Episcopal priest sues Michigan county, claims only ‘extremist’ Christians allowed to give invocation

Below is an article from the Christian Post that speaks to the ministry of our congregation.

An Episcopal Church priest has sued officials of a Michigan county, claiming he has been wrongfully banned from giving the invocation at official board meetings.

The Rev. Jared Cramer of St. John’s Episcopal Church of Grand Haven filed a lawsuit against the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners earlier this month in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division.

The complaint claims that Commissioner Joe Moss, who serves as chair and oversees the selection of clergy to pray at the meetings, has been excluding Cramer and others who don't share Moss’ Christian beliefs about marriage and human sexuality.

Cramer claims to have reached out to Moss on multiple occasions this year about being added to the invocation list, according to the lawsuit, however, the commission chair allegedly hasn't responded to his requests.

The complaint further argues that Moss has excluded Cramer because of his support for LGBT ideology, and his Episcopal congregation’s open support for the LGBT movement.

“Moss’s refusal to allow Reverend Cramer to lead the invocation demonstrates the Commission’s policy of religious discrimination in selecting individuals to lead the invocation,” reads the complaint. “Upon information and belief, the Commission does not have a non-discriminatory policy that allows individuals of various religious denominations and beliefs to lead the invocation; on the contrary, Defendant Moss alone chooses individuals based on his personal endorsement of their religious beliefs.”

The Christian Post reached out to the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners this week. A spokesperson said they could not comment but forwarded the request to the corporate counsel. This article will be updated if a response from the counsel is received.

In an interview with Episcopal News Service, Cramer said he hoped his lawsuit would make sure “that broader Christian voice can be represented at the county level.”

Cramer went on to say that he believed the commissioner board was dominated by a socially conservative advocacy group known as Ottawa Impact, which he claims favors “Christians which agree with their extreme views.”

Ottawa Impact advocates for pro-life issues and parents' rights in education, including opposing the sexualization of children in public schools.

Cramer argues that the commission has “effectively attempted to silence the voices of a significant number of Christians who believe that following Jesus means something very different than what Ottawa Impact is doing.”

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