A shopping mall in Dublin — a city of 16,201 in the state of Georgia — bans shoppers from praying, not even over their meals.
Todd Starnes reports for Fox News, Aug. 5, 2014, that’s what Tammy Brantley — wife, mom, avid power walker, and a person of faith — discovered.
Brantley is the co-founder of “Dublin Girls Run,” a group of ten local women devoted to physical fitness and the Christian faith, who accessorize their running attire with tutus and feather boas and have been seen running road races in southeast Georgia dressed up like Chick-fil-A cows and superheroes. The group begins and ends their runs with prayer.
A few weeks ago the Dublin Girls had gathered inside Dublin’s local mall for an evening power walk. They formed a small circle and as they had done many times before, they bowed their heads to petition the Almighty.
But they were interrupted by a mall cop barreling down a corridor. Brantley said, “The security guard came running toward us and said, ‘You are not allowed to pray at the mall. That’s against the policy.’”
Brantley told the mall cop that the Dublin Girls have been praying in the mall since last November and no one ever said anything about it. “We’ve never had any problems.”
The security guard told her they’d had a problem with a previous religious group trying to proselytize shoppers. But Brantley said they weren’t trying to convert anybody – they were just trying to pray. Nor were they loud. “You can’t hear us unless you are in the circle,” she said.
The ladies thought the security guard was simply mistaken so they asked him to call the mall manager who verified that prayer is not allowed at the mall because the mall is private property. He said that even shoppers in the food court are banned from praying over their food.
Mall officials did not return calls from Fox News reporter Starnes.
Meanwhile, the Dublin Girls are searching for a new place to power walk. “It’s really heartbreaking,” Brantley said. “Who would have thought something like this could happen in the teeny-tiny town we live in?”
Starnes did not name the mall, so I did a search for shopping malls in Dublin, Georgia.
The biggest mall there is the Dublin Mall, an enclosed mall with 275,000 sq. feet of gross leasable area. Judging by the outraged comments on its Google page, that is the mall that bans shoppers from praying.
Confirmed! An article today by Kristen D. Swilley for WMAZ identifies the mall as Dublin Mall. Swilley writes:
Today, we spoke by phone to John Ingler, Vice President of McKnight Properties, the company that owns the Dublin Mall. He says he’s releasing a formal statement Tuesday afternoon. He would not confirm or deny whether a policy banning prayer is in place.