Skip to comments.Despite court ruling, Rowan County (NC) commissioners say they'll continue Christian prayers
Posted on 02/22/2012 7:19:36 AM PST by mykdsmom
SALISBURY, N.C. Commissioners in one North Carolina county plan to continue offering Christian prayers at public meetings, regardless of a letter from a civil liberties group citing a recent Supreme Court action upholding a federal court's ban on the practice.
The Salisbury Post reported (http://bit.ly/xtafV5 ) that a huge crowd turned out for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night to offer their support to the elected officials, who say they'll defy a decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals striking down so-called sectarian prayer, or prayer that's explicitly linked to a particular religion, such as Christianity.
"If they tell county commissioners they can't pray, soon they're going to be in my church telling me I can't pray in the name of Jesus," said Terry Brown, a county resident who came to the meeting.
The appeals court's ruling was in the case of the Forsyth County Board of Commissions. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by that board, letting the Fourth Circuit's ruling stand. Since then, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has contacted 25 and 30 government bodies in North Carolina in response to complaints from residents about sectarian prayer.
So far, Rowan County commissioners are the only local officials who say they'll disregard the court's decision, said Katy Parker, legal director of the state ACLU. The group has asked for a response from the commissioners to its concerns by March 5. Salisbury is located about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte.
"We hope they'll change their mind and follow the law," Parker said.
Legal director Katy Parker says Rowan is so far the only one to say they plan to keep specific prayer.
The only other government body to openly disregard the court's ruling so far, Parker said, is the General Assembly. There were Christian prayers before sessions of both the state House of Representatives and Senate during a brief meeting last week. Legislative leaders have said they'll review the ACLU's concerns, but criticized the group for sending a letter calling on lawmakers to end sectarian prayer.
Rowan County Commission Chairman Chad Mitchell began Monday's meeting by addressing a prayer to "Father" and concluding with the words, "In Jesus' name." Commissioner Jim Sides said he's prepared to go to jail over the question. Four of five Rowan commissioners say they plan to continue offering Christian prayers.
Only one of about two dozen members of the public who spoke Monday night argued that prayers offered to a specific deity don't belong in government meetings.
"I think what's going on right now is a clear example of why we need this law, and why it should be obeyed," said Salisbury resident Chris Crowell, who compared the atmosphere of the meeting to a religious revival.
Salisbury residents John and Marina Bare, though, said the court's ruling is an infringement on their rights. Marina Bare carried a sign with a red hammer and sickle and warned that the country was becoming a new U.S.S.R., or "United States of a Screwed-Up Republic."
"The people who are trying to push the freedom of religion out of government are nothing more than people wanting to force others to do as they say and they believe," John Bare said.
Information from: Salisbury Post, http://www.salisburypost.com
Sometimes it seems like nobody is paying attention and then I hear about this and it gives me great hope. We aren't the only ones that get it.
I expect before that it is over, that these NC people will be seriously hurt or killed.
So, a Federal Appellate Court has issued binding case law dictating the content of public prayer - How is this not a “law regarding the establishment of religion”?
“Commissioners Say They’ll Continue Christian Prayer”
Those commissioners must be a bunch of gun-loving,
bible-thumping, knuckle-dragging, anti-science,
(At least, that’s what the Progressives say, so it must be the truth. Long Live Big Brother!)
Atheism is becoming the defacto state religion. Just remember Daniel refused orders not to pray too.
Prayers can be sectarian but not Christian.
These people are clinging to their guns and religion. They don’t know any better. (more sarcasm)
They just don’t know what’s good for them. What’s the matter with Kansas, or in this case, North Carolina?
See, cases like this point up why we all need good Democrats, liberals, and MSNBC talking heads to tell us how to live. (more sarcasm)
And by what standard can it be said that one is an "establishment of relilgion" and the other isn't? This is just a court deciding that it is more comfortable with one concept of religion over another. When courts have to issue case law establishing a religion ostensibly to prevent the establishment of religion we have entered the realm of logical absurdity.
Nice to see people defying the ACLU. (In the hometown of my girlfriend)
“We all need good Democrats, liberals, and MSNBC talking heads to tell us how to live.(more sarcasm)”
True, since they are all really-really smart, intelligent, supremely intellectual, omniscient, all-knowing, brilliant, superior, genetically far-advanced and also very very special god-like geniuses. ( a bit more sarcasm.)
(not to mention being absolute, tyrannical, scu*bags.)
Liberty, E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust.
The American Trinity on every coin.
Well, it’s not really “binding” if it’s unenforceable. What are they going to do, put a “Prayer Monitor” in the council room, and taze anyone who starts to utter the word Jesus? These commissioners have the right idea, civil disobedience, which can only result in two outcomes: either the State tries to enforce this law, in a way that will reveal their true draconian nature to the public, or they will have to back down. Either way, we win.
NO doubt the ACLU will try to enforce the ruling by getting a trial court injunction which enjoins any members of the council from deviating from the Federally mandated approved prayers. IF they violate the injunction the ACLU will then ask that they be held in comtempt and fined or imprisoned as punishment by the Court.
A prayer cannot accept Jesus Christ as its Lord and Savior. Just mentioning Jesus in a prayer doesn’t make it Christian.
Yes, but none of those actions would actually serve to stop anyone from saying whatever prayers they like, they could only hope to deter people from making that choice by threatening them with harsh consequences. If I don’t care about the consequences, it’s impossible for them to enforce this law on me, they can only punish me after the fact. That’s why these kind of rights are inalienable, because you can’t really actually deprive anyone of the right itself, you can only try to increase the difficulty of them exercising it.
Tell it to the 4th Circuit. Whatever diety a prayer "mentions" or if it doesn't mention any diety, it presumedly is petitioning somebody. So it's religious regardless of the content. How does a Court go about deciding the constitutionally permissible content of a religious prayer without establishing some sort of religion in the process? It's an absurdity.