Leaders to adorn sackcloth and ashes to fight crime
At Tuesday's Birmingham City Council meeting, Mayor Larry Langford proclaimed Friday, April 25, a "day of prayer in sackcloth and ashes" in Birmingham.
FOLLOW THIS STORY: Langford sports sackcloth, ashes, Rolex (click here)
Birmingham Weekly reported two weeks ago that the mayor purchased 2,000 burlap sacks for ministers and other community leaders to wear at a Plan 10/30 summit.
To many Christians, sackcloth and ashes symbolize humility and repentance, but the mayor's decree came dressed with the usual accoutrements - printed on fine, invitation-stock paper and wrapped in a bright silver folder, adorned by the magic hat logo Langford commissioned for the city last year.
In the decree, Langford said that Birmingham's crime problem "pails" (sic) in comparison to the biblical City of Nineveh.
The proclamation tells the Bible story of Jonah and the city of Nineveh: "Whereas Chapter 3, verse 5 & 6, of the Book of Jonah, Old Testament states, that the people of Nineveh believe God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them," the resolution reads.
In the proclamation, the mayor puts himself parallel with the King of Nineveh (Jonah 3:7) who, wearing sackcloth and ashes, joined his citizens in prayer.
Langford said last week that "the Constitution of the United States calls for a separation of church and state - it never said anything about a separation of church from state." He did not mention the Constitution at today's city council meeting, although he blasted any potential critics who question his piety in public office.
"I could care less what they write about it or say about it," Langford said. "Because let there be no misunderstanding, just like Satan is at work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days, God is too."
The mayor's proclamation urged all "Bishops, Priests, Pastors, Ministers," and other religious citizens to join him in prayer at the Plan 10/30 summit, which will take place at Boutwell Auditorium this Friday, April 25, at 6 p.m.
The event will be the third Plan 10/30 summit. Previous events have focused on families and crime. In one event, Langford handed out Bibles donated by the 700 Club.
Far from the negative press he received last month for Jefferson County's financial woes, Langford has been featured and praised by Pat Robertson's religious news broadcasts.
Meanwhile, Birmingham's homicide rate continues to outpace figures from this time last year.
To see the full text PDF (you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader) of the proclamation, click on the image above.
Or watch the video below.