I posted back in May about the Rowan County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina and how they used to pray to Jesus at virtually every meeting.
U.S. District Judge James Beaty Jr. ruled at the time that the Commissioners were violating the law and continued to do so every time they uttered a Christian prayer. (The legal thing to do would be to open up the invocations to people of all faiths and no faith.)
But as they were deciding whether or not to appeal the ruling, instead of stopping the prayers, the Commissioners kept them going. In fact, the prayers were offered by Pastor Michael Taylor, the Sheriff’s Office chaplain (a position you’d think is also illegal…).
Keep in mind that asking the pastor to speak on their behalf is still wrong. As it stands, no non-Christian is allowed to deliver these invocations and the Supreme Court explicitly prohibited that in Greece v. Galloway.
Last month, the new Chairman of the Commissioners, Greg Edds, made a long speech detailing why he felt appealing the decision was the best path forward.His argument was essentially that is all depended on who was saying the Christian prayers: pastors or the Commissioners? (Spoiler: Neither is okay.) And the taxpayers were going to have to pay the price for his ignorance.
If the Rowan County Commissioners want to have prayers at meetings, they have to be open to the possibility that an atheist, Satanist, Muslim, Hindu, or Pagan may be the person giving it.
They didn’t understand that. So after Edds finished speaking, there was a unanimous vote in favor of appealing the ruling.
That appeal was officially filed this week:
Commission Chair Greg Edds told WBTV that commissioners questioned their attorney about fighting the case. Their questions were answered and a conclusion was made.
“We believe that we have a better than average chance,” Edds said. “It needs to be heard.”
Edds tells WBTV so far the county has spent a couple of thousand of dollars to fight this battle. He says The National Center for Life and Liberty is covering most of appeal expenses.
If they end up losing this case, however, taxpayers will be on the hook for the ACLU’s legal fees. No right-wing legal group is going to cover that expense.
It’s a ridiculous appeal built entirely on ignorance. It’s just a matter of time before the Commissioners realize that.
(Thanks to Malinda for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)