CHARLOTTE -- When people bow their heads to pray at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department public events, they will no longer hear "in the name of Jesus." That's because the department is changing the way volunteer chaplains pray.
"Our intention is not to offend anyone but to make sure that the environment in those kinds of things is inclusive not exclusive," said Maj. John Diggs with CMPD.
Diggs is over the department's chaplain program. He said the department wants to create an environment where all religious faiths are respected.
"Our goal is certainly not to demean Christianity in any way but make sure everyone feels included regardless of what their faith is," said Diggs.
Some leaders in the religious community think omitting Jesus from Christian prayer is a bad idea.
"I think it is a very very poor decision that ultimately, as a community, we will come to regret," said Dr. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte.
Dr. Harris said the church has a close relationship with the police department.
"I was surprised because just a month ago we had a memorial service here at First Baptist Church of Charlotte," said Harris. "I was invited to do the welcome and the opening prayer, which I did, and I prayed in Jesus name."
Pastor Harris said now is the time for people of all faiths to come together in hopes of getting the police department to reverse its decision.
"I don't know who it's going to take, whether it will be the city council to step up to the plate or whether it be the police chief himself that would make that kind of decision," said Harris.
The ACLU said it did not play a part in CMPD's decision. However, leaders applaud the department for making the changes.