Mayor John Cooper Limits Prayer Vigil to Fewer than 25 People Because of Social Distancing


Nashville Mayor John Cooper held a public prayer vigil before Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting on the front lawn of the Metro Courthouse — public to the extent that fewer than 25 people could attend.

Cooper limited the gathering to fewer than 25 people because of COVID-19 for, according to an emailed press release, security and social distancing reasons.

But former Nashville mayoral candidate Carol Swain wondered Tuesday why Cooper limited the number of participants at that particular event — but he didn’t impose similar requirements this past Saturday at the George Floyd rally at Legislative Plaza.

As reported, several thousand protestors descended upon Nashville’s Legislative Plaza Saturday on behalf of Floyd. Many carried signs demanding that government either defund or abolish the police.

“The day before he sent out a tweet in celebration of LGBT month, and the next day he participates in a prayer rally. I’m always a believer in prayer. I believe that prayer can change lives and nations and cities,” Swain told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.

“Once Cooper had decided to have that mass demonstration on Saturday I wish he had seen the importance of prayer at that event. Maybe it wouldn’t have turned so violent by the end of the evening if they had started off with prayer. Also the hypocrisy and the pandering. He was obviously pandering that they would have a prayer vigil that they would limit to 25 participants that they handpicked with invitations. I’m sure there were many people across the city, from the churches, that would have loved to have come and been a part of that evening.”

The Star asked Cooper’s office for a list of all of the faith leaders who spoke at the vigil — but they did not return our request for comment before press time Tuesday.

Most of the faith leaders who spoke were of the Christian denomination. Two Jewish rabbis also spoke, as did Executive Director at the American Muslim Advisory Sabina Mohyuddin.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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3 Thoughts to “Mayor John Cooper Limits Prayer Vigil to Fewer than 25 People Because of Social Distancing”

  1. Ellen Spalding

    This is religious discrimination. Mayor Cooper did not limit the number of protestors, rioters and looters destroying Nashville but is limiting those praying to 10!
    Those prayers is what will bring healing to our land and to the hearts of those who are hurting. Sounds to me he likes the chaos and destruction. He should have been fired after Saturday nights fiasco.

  2. Wolf Woman


    BTW, the new “modern art” on the Courthouse wall looks fab. It gives the building a Neo-Detroit look.

  3. Russ Crouch

    What a joke. He invites a crowd that destroys down town, nut restricts thing he does not like. He has lost ALL credibility to restrict ANYTHING. I moved out of Davidson country several years ago. If I owned a business in Davidson country I would open as usual and go to court and fight this Mayor. I do not think a court would uphold an order that 1. likley is not constitutional 2. The mayor flaunts whenever he wants. You cannot have it both ways.