A recent order by a Californian city manager forbids fire and police chaplains to pray using the words 'in Jesus name.'

Pastor J.C. Cooper has been volunteering as the police chaplain in Carlsbad, CA, for the past six years. He is the associate pastor at The Mission Church. His father, Denny Cooper, has volunteered and served as chaplain for the fire department for 18 years. 

At the beginning of March, the police asked J.C. to deliver an invocation at the Carlsbad Police Department Awards Ceremony. Happy to do so, without thinking J.C. ended his prayer with "in Jesus' name, Amen."

Within a month, the Police Chief, Christie Calderwood, told J.C. that the city council made a decision when it comes to public prayers. The council said that unless the chaplain removed the words 'in Jesus' name' from any future prayers, there would be disciplinary actions taken. 

Fire Chief Mike Calderwood told J.C.'s father, Denny, the same thing around that time as well. 

"Removing the name of Jesus from my prayers would be a denial of my Savior Jesus Christ, a violation of my conscience, and a sin," J.C. said to the police chief. 

The Carlsbad Police Promotion Ceremony is an event that J.C. would normally give the invocation and because of this order, the chaplain declined the upcoming ceremony. 

J.C. did meet with City Manager Scott Chadwick alongside his police chief to gain clarity on the situation. 

Chadwick said that praying in the name of Jesus was "harassment, created a hostile work environment, and lifted one religion above another." The city councillor said J.C. and his dad Denny could use whatever name they wanted for God, except the name 'Jesus.'

A non-profit legal group that aims to defend religious freedoms, First Liberty Institute, has sent a letter to Carlsbad City Council asking them to remove the recent order. 

"Because the Chaplains cannot in good conscience erase the name of Jesus from their prayers, this order deprives first responders of the solace and the spiritual strength that the Chaplains' volunteer ministry has provided for nearly two decades," the letter reads. "Therefore, we urge the City Council to return its longstanding practice of inviting the Chaplains to pray freely in accordance with their sincere religious beliefs."