North Carolina Official Rejects Non-Christian Prayers at Meetings. “If They Don’t Like It, Stay the Hell Away”

After years of reciting only Christian prayers at meetings, a judge ruled earlier this week that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners (in North Carolina) had violated the Constitution.

Carrol Mitchem (below), the chairman of the neighboring Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, saw this whole controversy play out over the past few years and he’s determined to… um… repeat history:

… Mitchem said that not only will invocations remain in Lincoln County, but that he would see to it that no non-Christian prayers are delivered on his watch.

“A Muslim? He comes in here to say a prayer, I’m going to tell him to leave,” Mitchem said. “I have no use for [those] people. They don’t need to be here praying to Allah or whoever the hell they pray to. I’m not going to listen to [a] Muslim pray.”

“Changing rules on the way the United States was founded, Constitution was founded [I don’t like],” Mitchem said. “I don’t need no Arab or Muslim or whoever telling me what to do or us here in the county what to do about praying. If they don’t like it, stay the hell away.”

There’s some Christian love for you… Only we get to force our beliefs down everyone else’s throats! Now get the hell out of here, brown people! [Spits]

I guess he doesn’t understand that he’s allowed to cover his ears while non-Christians deliver an invocation. Or, you know, ignore it. The rest of us have to put up with Christian prayers; he could stand to be in our shoes once in a while.

Fellow Commissioner Alex Patton is no better on this subject:

He said that he believes government has gone too far in serving the minority.

“We’ve gone overboard in catering to the small vocal minority,” Patton said. “Atheists are 1 or 2 percent or whatever, but because they cry the loudest, people cater to them. Judges cater to the freedom of religion. That freedom is for me as a Christian as well.”

Right. It’s because we’re vocal. Not because we know how to read the First Amendment or because the Supreme Court has said that invocation prayers, if offered, must be open to all religious and non-religious groups.

At least one Commissioner made sense:

Commissioner Cecelia Martin said that perhaps there could be an alternative to the current invocation process.

“I think it’s alright to have an invocation and let it be a moment of silence,” Martin said. “All people of all religions could pray to whomever their religion believes they should pray to. I think that would fall within the guidelines and we’re a little bit outside the guidelines by allowing Christianity to be the main [religion]. I would advocate a moment of silence, is what I would advocate. But the fellow commissioners see fit to do otherwise and that’s fine with me as well.”

Yes, a moment of silence would be fine, legally speaking.

But then no one would get to see the other Commissioners pray in public and that’s really all they want. That’s what this is always about. It’s not like they give a shit what the Bible says about the matter. They just want to win imaginary brownie points with Jesus.

If only they cared about other people in their community as much as they care about stroking their own egos.

In case it’s unclear, this unofficial policy is illegal. What we need is a local non-Christian requesting the chance to deliver an invocation. Let’s see if they actually stand by their words and reject the offer.

Their neighbors in Rowan County already have to pay a hefty price in legal fees for their transgressions. Lincoln County taxpayers should let the Commissioners know they don’t want their money wasted like this.

If anyone would like to send polite reminders of how the law works, you’re welcome to email the commissioners. Let me know how that goes.

(Thanks to Chris for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.