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
That's true of any law.
What many don’t realize is that the Declaration of Independence is the law of the land. It was codified as the first statute passed by the first Congress. There is an unmistakable reference to the one true God and showing proper respect to God cannot possibly violate the Constitution.
“That’s true of any law.”
Correct, but with most laws, the majority of the people don’t have a serious reason for noncompliance, it’s only a minority who won’t comply and that is not usually because of any ideological disagreement with the law. Civil disobedience in those cases isn’t a viable option, since nobody would sympathize with, say a bank robber saying he did it because his moral code says it’s ok to rob banks. When they are attempting to dissuade us from exercising our rights, on the other hand, it’s a perfect opportunity for civil disobedience, since it is probably going to be the most effective means of resistance.
Good for them. Is the Federal court going to send in US Marshals to arrest the county commissioners? Surely even the Zero administration isn’t *that* stupid ... Go ahead, make our day!
Not sure if you are handling the NC ping list or not but I see you recently pinged the NC list so could you please ping again for this? Thanks.
VIDEO, PICS. ARTICLE FROM LAST COMMISSIONERS MEETING:
Nah. Rowan County is a right-wing stronghold. If there is a threat looming, it will have to come from outside.
My roots are there too. Salt of the earth folks, I doubt they'll back down.
Feds arrest County Commissioners? That would be a HUGE mistake.
Don’t know who else they could get to attempt an arrest?
Well, if the County Commissioners have really ticked off the County Sheriff over funding disputes ...
The First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law..."
This is the courts, not Congress. So, it's O.K. /s