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Despite court ruling, Rowan County (NC) commissioners say they'll continue Christian prayers
AP ^ | 2/21/2012 | The Republic

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 ( ) 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,

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: commissionerspray; countycommissioners
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To: Boogieman
"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."

That's true of any law.

21 posted on 02/22/2012 11:47:04 AM PST by circlecity
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To: mykdsmom

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.

22 posted on 02/22/2012 11:47:04 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: circlecity

“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.

23 posted on 02/22/2012 4:51:55 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: mykdsmom


24 posted on 02/22/2012 9:39:32 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell)
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To: mykdsmom

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!

25 posted on 02/23/2012 5:23:44 AM PST by Tax-chick (I used to be difficult, but after watching 46 episodes of "Lie to Me," I'm impossible!)
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To: MitchellC

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.

26 posted on 02/23/2012 6:59:11 AM PST by mykdsmom (FUBO)
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To: 100%FEDUP; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; ~Vor~; a4drvr; Adder; Aegedius; Afronaut; alethia; ...

NC *Ping*

Please FRmail MitchellC if you want to be added to or removed from this North Carolina ping list.

27 posted on 02/25/2012 2:59:22 PM PST by MitchellC
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To: mykdsmom


28 posted on 02/26/2012 8:03:52 AM PST by lwd
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To: Lazamataz

Nah. Rowan County is a right-wing stronghold. If there is a threat looming, it will have to come from outside.

29 posted on 02/26/2012 10:58:19 AM PST by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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To: vetvetdoug
"Thyatira Presbyterian Church in Salisbury has a significant number of my ancestors (Locke) in the graveyard. My family had farms along Third Creek from as early as 1750. These people won't put up with this if they have the same genes as I."

My roots are there too. Salt of the earth folks, I doubt they'll back down.

30 posted on 02/27/2012 1:36:38 PM PST by JWinNC (
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To: Tax-chick

Feds arrest County Commissioners? That would be a HUGE mistake.

Don’t know who else they could get to attempt an arrest?

31 posted on 02/27/2012 1:40:10 PM PST by JWinNC (
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To: JWinNC

Well, if the County Commissioners have really ticked off the County Sheriff over funding disputes ...

32 posted on 02/27/2012 6:35:00 PM PST by Tax-chick (I used to be difficult, but after watching 48 episodes of "Lie to Me," I'm impossible!)
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To: circlecity
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”?

The First Amendment reads "Congress shall make no law..."

This is the courts, not Congress. So, it's O.K. /s

33 posted on 02/27/2012 6:42:34 PM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance On Parade)
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