Critics tell city leader Facebook prayer is out of line

Shelby Township Supervisor Ricky Stathakis said despite the backlash, he won't stop posting prayers on his Facebook page.

- When terrorists strike, many take to Facebook to pray for the victims, both killed and injured, to share their condolences for them. It happens all over the world including Metro Detroit. But a local politician did it as well and, for that reason, people are upset.

Shelby Township Supervisor Ricky Stathakis posted on his personal Facebook page a prayer for the victims. It ignited a storm of complaints with critics saying doing so was out of line.

His prayer read, in part, " almighty God, shine your radiance into every corner of this dark and fallen world. Send your angel armies into Brussels".

It was meant for the victims of the Brussels bombings. Stathakis is an elected official and he posted his prayer to his personal Facebook page. But some say that mixed government and religion.

"All I was doing is putting a prayer on a website for any support of the victims in Belgium," Stathakis said. "Being a supervisor doesn't strip strip away my rights of actually praying."

Stathakis has prayed before. When he was elected in 2008, he started praying before Shelby Township meetings.

"Whether I'm supervisor, whether I'm elected or not, I'm protected by the First Amendment," he said.

Legally, that's correct - his right to prayer is protected by the First Amendment. But that doesn't stop the critics, one of whom said "keep that between yourself and God."

"I'm just trying to, on a common ground of prayer, get some help from the victims," Stathakis said. "I'm very shocked by all the attention I'm receiving. I'm encouraged by the support. I'm getting hundreds of people writing into me, emails and different posts."

Most of his posts are positive and this is actually his second political post - he offered up a similar prayer for the victims in the Paris attacks. He says the prayers on his "personal" Facebook page will continue.

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