Michigan official finds himself in line of fire after posting prayer on Facebook for victims of Brussels terror attacks

A woman consoles her children at a street memorial following Tuesday's bomb attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on March 23, 2016.Reuters

A prayer is usually something that is admired and appreciated, but in the case of a supervisor from Shelby Township in Michigan, his prayer for the victims of the terrorist attack in Brussels surprisingly drew criticism.

Rick Stathakis, the supervisor for Shelby Township, posted a Bible verse from Psalm 46:1-2 on his Facebook page to express support for the families and relatives of the 33 people who were killed and 96 others who were wounded after Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombers attacked the airport and a metro station in Belgium.

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..." the Bible verse read.

He followed this up with a prayer for Brussels.

"Mighty God, Shine your radiance into every corner of this dark and fallen world. Send your angel armies into Brussels, and heal the land," Stathakis wrote. "Hear the prayers of those who call to you, calm them with Your peace, and soothe the souls of those who lost loved ones in this attack. Amen."

Some online users, however, did not take Stathakis' prayer well, saying he violated the separation of Church and State when he published the message on his Facebook page.

Commenter Rafael Saakyan, for instance, called out Stathakis for supposedly violating the Constitution.

"As a government official, it is unconstitutional for you to use your official position to promote the establishment of faith. It violates the most basic legal principles of the United States of America. In addition to being unconstitutional, it is highly offensive to your constituents. Please remove all religious references from government materials and keep your faith to yourself," Saakyan said, as quoted by Christian News.

Nevertheless, other commenters like Rick Willms praised the township supervisor for expressing his faith and extending sympathy for the Brussels blast victims.

"May God bless you for your boldness in acknowledging that God is our only refuge and hope in this fallen and sin-cursed world. Keep praying, Rick, and stay true to your convictions," Willms said.

Stathakis, for his part, said he will keep on standing up for his faith despite the criticisms he received.

"I'm very shocked by all the attention I'm receiving. I'm encouraged by the support. I'm getting hundreds of people writing into me, emails and different posts," he said.

"It's not about me, it's about the people in Brussels. It was just a simple prayer asking God to be at their side, and all of a sudden now it's become pointed at me," he added.