Prayer before meetings could return to local city, county boards

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Sectarian prayer before public meetings could be returning to local city and county boards with limits.

Monday the Supreme Court gave approval to public prayers at Greece, New York’s board meetings, citing the country’s history of religious acknowledgment in the legislature.

Two local women brought suit against the town objecting to invocations that had been overwhelmingly Christian in nature.

In a 5-4 ruling, the high court agreed a prayer before meetings does not violate the Constitution, believing forcing innovations at public meetings to be nonsectarian puts the government and courts in the position of censoring religious speech. The court said prayer should continue as long as it doesn’t try to convert others or be negative toward other faith.

In June of last year, Forsyth County Commissioners threw their support behind the town after they spent years dealing with their own legal fights. The board was first sued in 2007 over invocations being delivered with reference to Jesus Christ.

“What we are going to do, based on the Supreme Court, will be a reaction,” said Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyer, who served as chairman of the board during their legal battles and appeal. Plyer believes Monday’s ruling will likely bring prayer back to local commissioners meetings. “My guess is that they’ll jump right back in and do what we had been doing if our attorney looks at the decision as it was written and then makes the decision we can do this without upsetting any part of our community.”

“Today’s ruling is a disappointing setback for the rights of citizens of all beliefs to be treated equally by their government,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. “Opening government meetings with prayers from a specific religious viewpoint tells citizens with different beliefs that they are not welcome and sends a message that the government endorses certain religious views over others.”

Threats of lawsuits from groups like the ACLU and Americans for the Separation of Church and State were ignored by the Stokes County school board, who continue to pray while government bodies like the Winston-Salem City Council dropped prayer for a moment of silence.

“For nearly 200 hundred years we were privileged to pray according to a person’s faith and all of a sudden they began to infringe upon our personal religious liberties, religious freedoms,” said Pastor Ron Baity with Return America. Baity has supported keeping prayer, saying it’s what the founding fathers intended. “It’s been a long time coming but we are very thankful that [the Supreme Court] got it right.”

9 comments

  • news2me

    Can you imagine taking the time to sue a town over an invocation that was Christian in Nature.???

    “Two local women brought suit against the town objecting to invocations that had been overwhelmingly Christian in nature”.

    No matter what beliefs you have, these invocations hurt no one.

    There is a lot to be done that can HELP someone but this henpecking

    chatter between these two women who sued the town is so lame and

    so typical of someone who spends a lot of time doing NOTHING but

    causing a bunch of NOISE

  • news2me

    Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. SAID

    “Opening government meetings with prayers from a specific religious viewpoint tells citizens with different beliefs that they are not welcome and sends a message that the government endorses certain religious views over others.”

    Jennifer, Your quote reminds me of a bunch of Middle School girls who are whining because so and so does not like them anymore. UGH.
    IN MY OPINION…..You are making up stuff

  • news2me

    If you do not like the prayers during the invocations.
    1. Bring your earplugs
    2. Leave the room

    I am tired of people infringing on my rights to say a prayer.

    • FaithC

      As long as each meeting has different clergy from a different religion and throughout the year represents all religions who wish to lead the opening prayer it should not be a problem…and I do mean all religions. Not everybody is Christian, if you don’t like the other religions then you can wear earplugs or leave the room.

  • Ken Baker

    It’s interesting that the name of the Lord is so controversial the Fox8 won’t allow my post when that name is included in it!

  • Ken Baker

    I tried twice to post a comment that include the name of the Son of God. Fox8 does not allow that name to appear hear.

    “My guess is that they’ll jump right back in and do what we had been doing if our attorney looks at the decision as it was written and then makes the decision we can do this without upsetting any part of our community.”

    Mr. Plyler, The name which I have tried to post will most definitely offend as proven by Fox8’s position of not allowing it to be posted.

    I thank God for the power of that name.

  • Ken Baker

    So, as an experiment, can we say Mohamed here?, or maybe Buddha? how about Haile Selassie?

  • Ken Baker

    I see, because of the power in the name of God’s only begotten Son. His name is banned here.

Comments are closed.


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