Prayers in Support of Thorne-Begland
Our prayers are needed urgently right now, Sunday night and Monday, for the cause of simple justice in the General Assembly of Virginia.
The cause? The appointment of a respected attorney and prosecutor to the bench of the Richmond 13th General District Court.
Actually, our prayers may be just as much about the need to stop a miscarriage of justice. The possible miscarriage? This good man could be denied approval of his appointment due to the wild conspiracy theories, and the homophobia, of the Family Foundation.
You may think this an unusual prayer request and you would be correct. But this is about justice for one good person, and actually justice for all of us.
Tracy Thorne-Begland, a prosecutor for 12 years who currently serves as Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in Richmond, was nominated to serve as a judge of the city’s district court. All seemed positive for his approval by the General Assembly, until the Family Foundation of Virginia chose to focus on Thorne-Begland’s activism in 1992 when, as a “top gun” pilot, he was booted from the Navy after coming out as a gay man on national TV to challenge the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. They also spied what the FF seems to think is some sort of conspiracy to get Thorne-Begland elevated to a high court. Some conspiracy theories have a kernel of truth in them. Much of the time they just reveal more about the theorists than anything.
The FF also is critical of him for making comments critical of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s advice to public universities to back off from policies prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination. Never mind that many attorneys voiced similar criticisms of the AG’s reasoning.
Del. Manoli Loupassi, a conservative Republican from Richmond, is Thorne-Begland’s chief patron in the House. He dismisses the concerns because, Thorne-Begland “is absolutely well-qualified.” Besides, Loupassi says, the court is “like our ‘Night Court,” dealing with very basic cases. “He’s not going to be making decisions relative to some of the hot-button social issues.”
But, it seems not all Republicans are persuaded that the prosecutor should be appointed. So there seems to be a move afoot to deny approval to the Thorn-Begland appointment.
What can we do?
POFEV Board member, and State Senator, Donald McEachin, asks us to pray that Tracy Thorne-Begland be treated with respect—for his amazing public service beginning with the Navy and continuing until this very moment—and that the need of the City of Richmond for well-qualified judges lead to his quick approval.
That may not seem like something folks outside Richmond need bother themselves about, but the truth is that if the FF can stop the approval process for Tracy Thorne-Begland there is no telling who next will fall victim to wild theories and character misrepresentations.
Please pray in your own words for justice to be done, or feel free to use these (or adapt them as you wish).
God of Justice, God of Mercy and Truth and Wisdom,
We come to You out of concern for the integrity of our justice system, and out of concern for a distinguished citizen of our Commonwealth, Your servant Tracy. We are grateful for his service in the military and in the criminal justice system. He has been nominated to serve on the General District Court bench in Richmond. We are grateful to him for his desire to serve and to his patrons for nominating him. We ask that You help our legislators to do the honorable thing by approving his appointment. And we ask that You liberate his detractors— as You offer liberation to all of us—from the thrall of groundless fears and misrepresentations. As You have heard the cries of Your people for justice again and again throughout human history, we thank You for hearing our cry now. In all Your holy and blessed names we pray. Amen.
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