Despite lawsuit, Rowan County Commissioners open meeting with prayer

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File image: Rowan County commissioners praying at a public government meeting. (Photo courtesy, WSOC)

SALISBURY, N.C. — A lawsuit by the ACLU did not stop the Rowan County Commission from opening a public meeting with a prayer that included the words “personal lord and savior.”

The Salisbury Post reported that a large crowd turned out at the meeting Monday night to see if members would offer an opening prayer following the lawsuit.

The meeting reportedly began with a prayer for “intelligence, wisdom and courage” and ended the prayer to a “personal lord and savior.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina filed the lawsuit against Rowan County last week. The county commissioners are accused of violating the First Amendment by starting meetings with sectarian prayer.

Three Rowan County residents — Nan Lund, Liesa Montag-Siegel and Bob Voelker — are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

“They are giving me instruction in their religion. And I don’t feel like that’s appropriate as a prayer, and it’s certainly not appropriate at a government meeting,” Montag-Siegel said, according to WCNC.

Bryce Neier, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, encouraged commissioners to stand up to the ACLU. He said their personal rights don’t get checked when they walk into a county commission meeting.

More: The Salisbury Post.