The book was closed last week – temporarily at least — on a group of Troy residents seeking to oust two of their seven City Council members for voting against letting a Christian prayer group hold services at City Hall.

On June 6, Oakland County Probate Judge Eugene Moore ruled that the Troy Committee to Protect Free Speech wasn’t clear enough in its petition language. The group formed early last month with the purpose of seeking to recall Mayor Louise Schilling and Mayor Pro-tem Robin Beltramini.

The two, along with Councilman David Eisenbacher, voted in March and April to deny the Troy National Day of Prayer Task Force the right to hold Christians-only services on the National Day of Prayer on May 5.

Eisenbacher was not targeted because, according to state law, recall efforts cannot be filed against officials in the last six months of their terms.

The three council members said they didn’t want to be seen as favoring Christianity over other religions.

Wendee Rex, president of the recall committee, did not return several phone calls from News Hits seeking comment. Although she participated in the public prayer services, she previously told us that the recall attempt was based on free speech, not religious principles. "We want to have leaders in Troy who support the Constitution," she said.

It’s not clear whether Rex will make another push to try to remove the blasphemous council members. However, Ellen Davis Halsey, director of elections for Oakland County, says the group has the option of appealing the decision to the Oakland County Circuit Court (at considerable legal expense). It can also simply file another petition. In the event the county election commission deems that the new recall language is clear, the committee will have another 180 days in which to collect signatures.

Not surprisingly, Schilling says the whole idea is "ill-advised."

"To me, recalls should be for inappropriate acts of malfeasance and for folks who have made grievous errors," she says, "not simply a ‘no’ vote on a certain issue."

Amen to that.

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