October 2017 – Commissioners in Rowan County, North Carolina, can no longer pray at the beginning of commission meetings – because they are all Christians. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, as of July 14, that for Christians to be the “exclusive prayer givers” represents an establishment of religion. Last year, the same court had decided that the commissioners’ personal prayer preferences were constitutional.
“The legislators themselves gave the prayers according to whatever their religion was,” says National Center for Life and Liberty Attorney Barbara Weller. “If legislators were elected who were Buddhist or Muslim or something else, they would be able to give the prayers they wanted – and even the legislators now would be able to invite someone they wanted to give prayer.”
The Rowan County commissioners will now have to decide whether to take their case, Lund v Rowan County, to the Supreme Court.