Howell mayor changes name of prayer chain

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This photo illustrated the original prayer chain post on Mayor Phillip Campbell's website.

Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell responded to questions regarding an earlier post on the prayer chain he is starting.

So there is no confusion that the prayer chain he started on behalf of the Howell community is his own and not in any way official, Howell Mayor Phillip Campbell changed its name.

Originally called the “Mayor’s Prayer Chain” on Campbell’s website, Campbell said he’s changed the name to “My Personal, Private, Non-City Affiliated Prayer Chain.”

“That way, it sounds less municipal, which is good, because it is not a municipal act of the City of Howell,” Campbell wrote in an email. “It is my private initiative as a resident who wants people to ask God for His blessing on our community.”

Campbell said he was inspired to create the mayor’s prayer chain by the National Day of Prayer. He said he was also inspired by the days of prayer and fasting that different presidents have instituted, specifically Washington and Lincoln.

“I think that, given the economic situation in our state, prayers would be appropriate,” he said.

Campbell didn’t intend the prayer chain to be an official act of city government.

“As a private citizen, I am free to establish a prayer chain if I want,” he said. “As a former youth minister, this is something I have done before.

While Campbell is Christian, he said that in his post he didn’t mention any particular faith. “It invited ‘people’ who wanted to pray for our community.”

When asked whether he thought the ACLU might weigh in on the prayer chain, Campbell said it would depend on whether the organization thought a “resident wanting to ask people to pray for their community is serious enough to merit their intervention.”

About Maria Stuart 211 Articles

Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse. You can check out her website by clicking here.

8 Comments

  1. Oh uniformmike…if science ever proved that prayer worked better than an average 50/50 I would use it to help you see the errors of you thoughts. Faith is the belief in something without any evidence that it exists. The last thing this country needs is to put it’s precious resources and time in things that don’t exist or can never be proven. What this country needs most of all is intelligent people doing intelligent proven things to face the problems head on and have the insight to know what is real. What we don’t need is to go back to the dark ages and just so you know “our foundation” is and always has been secular.

  2. Mayor Campbell, GOOD FOR YOU !!! This is what it is going to take to start to turn our country back around, turning back to God. That is our foundation and over the years we have strayed away and now is the time to get back and ask for God to show us the way out of the messes we have created. Prayer and Faith are building blocks that we must use daily and I believe that Mr. Campbell is doing something that he has always done, praying, and that he is reaching out to others to join him. No hidden agendas, just praying for help from God. PTL. Keep up the good work and keep the Faith strong.

  3. Don’t tell Lauri and Chuck that I am praying for them this afternoon, or that I turned their names in to “My Personal, Private, Non-City Affiliated Prayer Chain”.
    Seriously, people? This prayer chain is supposed to be some kind of threat to the peace and prosperity of Howell?

    • Rick, thanks for praying with me. I don’t take issue with the prayer chain, as I’ve belonged to a few myself over the years. I do take issue with the potential abuse of power of government office to promote one, and only one, religious perspective.

  4. When did Matthew 6:5 get redacted from the New Testament?

    More importantly, I wonder what Mayor Campbell would think of another mayor using his or her notoriety to push an anti-religious message. To use their blog to push a “Personal, Private, Non-City Affiliated” daily rant against religion- how would that make religious citizens of that city feel? Sure, they’ll vote him out at the next election, but that’s four years later; four years of feeling vocally attacked by the person running their town, by one of the most public faces of their community.

    Or how about a radical Muslim mayor in a majority-Muslim community having a daily post about “infidels”? That mayor may or may not be sacrificing their political future by doing so, so how would you feel if you were a Christian in that city?

    You can claim that Mayor Campbell’s posts will have a “positive” message, but that is a subjective position. For some, just the promotion of ideas that state non-believers are going to have an afterlife of eternal punishment is not “positive”.

    Mayors should not use their position in the public’s eye to push religion.

    • And since I didn’t really make it clear in my comment, I understand that what Mayor Campbell is trying to do is not nearly the same as the two alternative examples I provided, but what I’m saying is that it opens the door to those sorts of things. If you’re going to allow the mayor to organize a religious email chain, there’s no reason a mayor couldn’t organize a religious newsletter or other form of communication. And if that communication is allowed, then the message itself can’t be constrained based on what religion/non-religion is being promoted.

  5. If Mr. Campbell intends the prayer chain to be at his request as a “private citizen” more power to him and may his prayers be answered. However, I do think that announcing it on “The official blog of the youngest mayor in Howell history” as his header proclaims may simply show his youth.

    True, there are many examples in history where government and religion have crossed paths, but it saddens me to see that Howell (which has been striving for DIVERSITY) for so long is now under the leadership of an individual who can’t see through his own filters enough to actually be seeking the good of everyone in the community. I won’t be subscribing to the prayer chain, but I do hope that the “important intentions” Mr. Campbell mentions in his blog take into consideration that some citizens of Howell and the surrounding townships may not want their troubles aired on an opt in email list – whether people are praying for them or not.

  6. “resident wanting to ask people to pray for their community is serious enough to merit their intervention.”

    For a resident no; but for a government official it most certainly is. No matter how you slice it once a person has been elected to a government office he or she is no longer considered a private citizen until their term of office is over. Everything they do is considered an act endorsed by the government and as such this prayer chain should be eliminated. As a government official Mr. Campbell is required to represent all citizens in an equal unbiased nature, to actually start this prayer chain Mr. Campbell is showing a bias against those who are not affiliated with any religion. If he cannot serve his term without acting out his pro religious nature or keeping it out of his actions until his term is over then he should step down and allow a more secular and unbiased person take his place.

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