North Augusta Mayor Lark Jones poked fun at the recent decision by a federal judge who declared the government-sanctioned National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.
"I told the chief of police not to come, but maybe he should be here in case any federal judges show up and try to shut us down," he said.
A group of North Augustans broke bread before joining in prayer Thursday at the 21st annual Mayor's Prayer Luncheon.
After the meal, ministers prayed and asked God to bless local, state and national leaders, and everyone in the armed forces.
Many in attendance echoed the mayor's sentiments.
Faith Ann Borst, the vice president of the western division of branches for SRP Federal Credit Union, said she thinks the National Day of Prayer is important for the nation.
"I understand that this is a volatile political time, and it might not be politically correct to want to celebrate a day of prayer, but having people whose ethics are rooted in an organized religion makes for a better society," she said.
John Bryant, the morning host for radio station WAFJ-FM (88.3), said, "This nation was founded on Christian principles, even though there are those who try to push that out of the scene. Our laws are founded on Christian principles, and we need to have a day of prayer that reminds us of the principles that are the bedrock of our nation."
"We've taken prayer out of too many things, and it's causing our nation to self-destruct," said Mary Ellen Sartori, of North Augusta.
Bill Curry, football coach for Georgia State University, talked about leadership and focused on the importance of equality, and the need to treat everyone in a righteous manner. He talked about how he had to overcome his own racial prejudices when he was drafted to play for the Green Bay Packers.
"My biggest problem is that I had never been in a huddle with an African-American person as a team member," Curry said. "People don't understand why Vince Lombardi won so many championships; he won championships because he was not a racist.
"All you've got to do is keep putting that shirt on and keep breaking a sweat and keep finding out that when you get busted in the mouth, the color of your blood is the same color of your brother's," Curry said.