Supporters of HB2 gather for prayer vigil in Charlotte

About 70 conservative Christians gathered for a prayer vigil in uptown Charlotte on Thursday night to show their support for North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

Holding candles outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, the group offered prayers of thanks for Gov. Pat McCrory and General Assembly leaders for enacting a law that overrode a Charlotte city ordinance that would have extended anti-discrimination protections to gays, lesbians and transgender people.

By doing so, those at the prayer vigil believe, House Bill 2 will protect the privacy and safety of women and young girls by keeping would-be predators dressed as women from entering women’s bathrooms.

“We know that in our city right now, we are fighting against some lies that are … trying to invade the privacy of people’s lives and the security of people’s lives,” said Jason Jimenez, a member of Carmel Baptist Church who was among the speakers.

Sponsored by the N.C. Values Coalition, the Charlotte prayer vigil is one of four scheduled around the state by early next week.

The vigils come amid a national backlash against the law from corporations, liberal state governors and others who have condemned House Bill 2 as a hateful assault on the rights of LGBT persons. PayPal even announced this week that, because of its opposition to the law, the company would no longer open an operations center in Charlotte that would have employed 400 people.

Liberal clergy have also spoken out against the law, saying it spread untruths about transgender people. The ACLU recently filed a lawsuit against it.

At the prayer vigil, the Rev. R.J. Davis, pastor of Nations Ford Community Church, led the group in a prayer that God would “soften the hearts” of CEOs and business owners so that “they might begin to see with a moral reasoning” and be led “not by greed or political pressure, but by common sense and moral conviction.”

In his prayer, the Rev. Mike Ross, pastor of Christ Covenant Church, called on God to give Republican McCrory “strength and wisdom and perseverance” and for Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat challenging McCrory in November, to reverse his pledge not to defend the law in court.

“And we pray for our judges,” Ross said, “that they would respond to the wishes of the populace and honor … what is proper in (God’s) sight.”