Just over a month ago, the Supreme Court said they didn’t want to hear an appeal from the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (in North Carolina), putting the final nail in the coffin on their attempts to keep praying to Jesus before meetings.
“We prayed like we normally pray,” said Rowan County Commission Chairman Chad Mitchell.
“At the moment, we’re not under a court order. We only have a request from the ACLU [to stop praying during meetings]. At the moment, we don’t plan on changing the way we’re doing things,” Mitchell said.
“They’re trying to take (prayer) away from us,” said David Coon, who showed up to pray in the lobby.
“They’re trying to take Jesus out of government and out of Rowan County. We’re here protesting it,” Coon said.
Of course, no one is trying to take prayer away from them. Despite what local fundie Jerry Brown says in the video at the 1:00 mark, no one’s going to go into his church and tell him to stop praying.
The ACLU is only asking the Board members to stop praying on government time. They can pray on their own time. Or at home. Or in their minds. But not publicly, and not to Jesus, when they’re supposed to be doing the peoples’ work.
They won’t listen to that advice, though. They’re Christians with a martyr complex. They want to be sued, they want to be sent to jail for violating the law in the name of their god, and they don’t give a damn about the job they ought to be doing.
“We got more complaints (from religious minorities) from Rowan County than anyplace else,” [Katy Parker, legal director of the N.C. chapter of the ACLU] said.
The ACLU received five complaints about the commissioners’ prayer before the letter was sent, and more since then.
Parker of the ACLU in North Carolina, which took Forsyth County to court, wouldn’t rule out litigation in the case of Rowan County.“We haven’t decided. But even if we don’t (file suit), other groups might,” she said. “And litigation can be very expensive for the county and would be (paid for) by taxpayers.”
Just like they did in Forsyth County, let’s hope the ACLU pokes a hole right through the Rowan County budget. If the taxpayers in the area had any common sense, they would speak out against these elected leaders who don’t care how much money they would waste in a lawsuit they’re bound to lose. And where are the level-headed Christians during all this? Why aren’t they speaking out? If you disagree with what the Commissioners are doing, then go to a meeting and say so!
While I’m talking about North Carolina, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is going after the state’s General Assembly for doing pretty much the same thing:
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has lodged formal complaints with the North Carolina General Assembly over its unconstitutional government prayers.
FFRF… sent letters to both the House and Senate in conjunction with its Raleigh chapter, the Triangle Freethought Society.
“Legislators routinely invoke the Christian deity, ‘Jesus Christ,’ and recite bible passages. Many of these ‘prayers’ are nothing less than sermons meant to proselytize and advance the Christian faith to the North Carolina general public,” wrote FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Opening sessions with sectarian prayer sends a message of exclusion to all nonChristian and nonreligious North Carolina citizens. FFRF points out that the endorsement of religion excludes the 15 percent of the American population that is nonreligious.
Every session of the North Carolina House of Representatives opens with a call to prayer. Either the Speaker or Presiding Officer requests that all in attendance stand. Senate sessions are always “blessed” by a Senate Chaplain or another sectarian officiant. Senate attendees are always asked to stand.
You can read the complaints and listen to audio recordings of the prayers right here.