Pastor's wife in hot water for 'praying too loud'

(Photo: Screengrab/KVLY11)

Her family migrated from Africa to North Dakota to follow their faith but now a pastor's wife is in hot water with authorities after she was slapped with a $150 fine for praying too loudly in the streets.

Martha Nagbe, who appeared for two court dates and paid her fine, said she will not stop expressing her faith in God even if she felt like her rights as an American were being violated.

"I can't stop. I'm trusting God," Nagbe said in an interview with Valley News Live.

Prior to the fine, Nagbe said that the police told her to stop praying downtown and in other neighbourhoods because her praying was destroying the peace, but she felt like this was contrary to what the United States stands for – freedom and opportunity.

"I mean, we all need prayers and great she's out there praying for all of us, but it's just the volume of her voice," said Lisbon Police Chief Jeanette Persons.

She disputed Nagbe's claim that her rights were being curbed, saying that they were not singling her out because of her race, religion, or freedom of speech but because of the complaints they received from citizens woken up by Nagbe's practice of standing outside people's homes, shouting for a lengthy period of time.

Persons acknowledged that she has only seen Nagbe carrying her Bible and singing verses of praise outside during the daytime.

Still, if she continues to pray loudly in the streets, Persons warned that she may continue to get fines. She instead suggested that Nagbe lower her voice as a peaceful compromise to address the issue.

Meanwhile, her husband, Pastor Juwle Nagbe sees nothing wrong about his wife's expression of her faith and lamented that his wife was being vilified for her actions.

"For them to antagonise her, to make her look like a bad person, sometimes makes me angry. Somebody should give her the respect that she deserves," he said.