Risking his life for eighteen years as a firefighter, Ronnie Edwards has prayed at every emergency scene. His actions have earned him the title of the “Praying Fireman” and those he works alongside admire and support his work ethic and his noble prayer habit. This habit of prayer has landed him in jail for 30 days.
The new mayor of DeQuincy, Lawana Jones is the “first democratic mayor in its history, an African American”, is an atheist, and has taken exception to Edwards prayer life. When she learned of Edwards praying at fires, she decided to do something about it. Sending a memo to all city employees, she told them that “any expression of personal religious belief while on duty was a violation of their contract with the city.”
Ronnie Edwards chose to keep up his prayer vigil as he believes that he must do what Jesus asks of him and not cave to the whims of an atheist mayor.
Prior to entering a burning building, fire fighter Ronnie Edwards of the DeQuincy Fire Department in Louisiana could be seen praying. His fellow fire fighters knew of his prayer habit and held the opinion, “It never really bothered anyone, it was just something he did. We put our lives on the line whenever we respond to a fire. I figure if praying helps him out then why not let the guy pray?”
“I just do what our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, would do,” Edwards told local DeQuincy news station DQLA6. “It’s not about me, it’s about spreading his message, you know? He works through me, I’m just fortunate enough to be part of that.”
According to sources within the DeQuincy Fire Department, Edwards, known to locals as “The Praying Fireman”, has been praying at the scene of fires since he joined the department in 1998, and it is only recently that the ritual has become an issue.
Atheist mayor Lawana Jones decided that Edwards’ prayer ritual crossed the line of separation of church and she had him suspended without pay and thrown in jail for 30 days.
Edwards, according to the city attorney Paul Horner, was warned four times to stop praying. “Refusal to obey an official city order is a misdemeanor and we must take action to address the crime,” Horner told reporters. “We didn’t want to suspend the man and have him arrested but we were out of options.”
Mayor Jones, spoke with ABC News, about her decision to suspend and imprison Edwards for praying while at work.
“I’m not anti-religious,” said Mayor Jones in a written statement, “But there is an appropriate time and place for everything. When he prays while on duty, he gives the impression that the City of DeQuincy is endorsing one particular religion over another. That is not the message that my office wants to send; it’s not what the people of DeQuincy elected me to do.” Jones continued, “If you live in a county where democracy is established, you should be aware that the idea of the separation of church and state is the only way to prevent the government from forcing religion on you and directing your religion and its doctrines. Religion is one of the most important factors in most people’s lives and it should be treated with reverence. In order to keep the government from directing religion and making it change how you are allowed to believe, church and state need to be separate. This allows for more openness when it comes to the decisions of the country. And in a world where everyone has different beliefs and different religions, a forced religion can cause an uprising and the dissolvent of a nation. You’re supposed to do your job, not involve politics and religion into it.”
Donald Trump has weighed in on the situation warning Jones that the jig is up when he becomes President. “Lawana Jones is going to pay for it. And if Mayor Jones doesn’t want to do that, I’ll have her thrown in jail so fast her head will spin.” He said Edwards should be reinstated and paid restitution for going to jail.
Meanwhile, Edwards has a calm disposition in regard to the situation. He will begin to serve his sentence on November 5th, but holds no bitterness.
“The Bible says that there will be sacrifices when you choose to follow the path of righteousness; it says that you will be reviled by the wicked. I will continue to pray that Mayor Jones comes to accept Jesus Christ, and will keep praying that God sees fit to put Donald Trump in the White House, but whether or not any of that happens, I still trust God and know that everything is happening according to his divine plan.”
For Jones, pressing her opinion via use of judicial force is of greater import than allowing a man to quietly pray before putting his life on the line.
I bet Jones would be crying out to God if her mayoral mansion was on fire and no one was there to save her.