Religious discrimination continues to permeate the United States, as prayer is prohibited in public schools, courts-and now shopping malls.
On Tuesday, Fox News reported an incident which occurred in Dublin Georgia concerning Tammy Brantley, wife, mother, and co-founder of the Dublin Girls Run, an organization that combines Southern faith and fellowship with Southern fitness. The women of the group are known for dressing up like Chick-fil-A cows or wearing feather boas and hats while participating in races.
But in addition to caring for their spiritual health, the women of Dublin Girls Run are avid prayer warriors who take their spiritual health very seriously.
"The group was started to be healthy and to be spiritually healthy, too," Brantley told Todd Starnes of Fox News. "I like to start off my runs with a prayer and end it with a prayer."
Several weeks ago, Brantley and several other women met at a local shopping mall for an evening power walk. However, as they formed a circle and bowed their heads to pray, a security guard interrupted them.
"You are not allowed to pray in the mall. That's against the policy," he told the women.
The guard stated that they had experienced problems with religious groups attempting to proselytize shoppers. The women explained that they weren't trying to impose their beliefs or convert anyone, and asked to speak to the head manager.
"I told him we've been praying since last November and no one said anything about it," said Brantley, "we've never had any problems."
To the women's surprise, the manager verified the security guard's assertions.
"The mall manager verified that prayer is not allowed at the mall because this is private property," explained Brantley.
"I said, sir, are you saying that people who eat food in the food court can't bow their heads and pray?" she said. "He said, 'No ma'am.' That's exactly what he said," she continued.
The Dublin women were aghast and very shaken by the event.
"it's very sad," said Brantley. "It's really heartbreaking."
The Dublin girls have decided to exercise and pray elsewhere and refuse to return to the mall until the prayer ban is lifted.
"I don't want my ladies to feel intimidated," Tammy said. "It's already hard enough to get out and exercise."
"Who would have thought something like this could happen in the teeny-tiny town we live in?" she concluded.
While such religious discrimination is sobering, the Dublin women refuse to let such events dampen their passion for prayer.
"God is stronger than any bully," said a woman named Sarah who participates with the group. "No earthly opposition can touch His people."