Court Blocks Prayer in North Carolina Legislature

By Published on July 15, 2017

A federal court ruled Friday that praying at the opening of North Carolina county commission meetings is unconstitutional.

The full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the initial ruling of the circuit’s three-judge panel, which said that the prayers were constitutional so long as Rowan County commissioners did not pressure anyone to join. According to the full circuit’s 10-5 ruling, the prayers constitute a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the initial lawsuit over the prayers, and alleged the religious practice was discriminatory, according to NBC Charlotte.

The court’s ruling conflicts with the Supreme Court’s ruling three years ago that religious leaders may open legislative meetings with prayer, regardless of whether everyone in attendance adheres to the same faith, according to a press release sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation from First Liberty Institute.

“While we are disappointed in the Fourth Circuit’s decision to ban invocations before legislative meetings contrary to Supreme Court precedent, we are encouraged that the split in the vote on the Fourth Circuit demonstrates the need for Supreme Court review on this issue,” said Mike Berry, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty Institute.


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Copyright 2017 The Daily Caller News Foundation

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  • Gary

    Praying before a government meeting is unconstitutional? Did the court mean the Chinese Constitution? The Iranian Constitution?

  • davidk

    The court’s decision violates the 1st Amendment.

    • Dean Bruckner

      Ignore the court, citing the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Let the feds come and arrest the NC gov’t officials.

  • Tom Rath

    The ruling doesn’t say that pre-meeting prayer is unconstitutional, in of itself, but that the manner and practice the County was utilizing was unconstitutional.

    Reading the actual ruling is helpful.

    • Gary

      The US Constitution prohibits the government, including the courts, from prohibiting the manner and practice of prayers by anyone.

      • Tom Rath

        Except when it’s the government or its agents and the prayer is in a manner or practice that has been found, over and over, to violate the same Constitution. In this case the practice has been found to be both exclusionary and coercive, which violates the Establishment Clause. Again, reading is fundamental.

        • Gary

          The Constitution does not prohibit prayers by a government official, so there is no way to violate the Constitution by praying.

  • Jack Lee ✓ᵀᴿᵁᴹᴾ

    Total insanity. Creating lies from the bench!

  • Kevin Quillen

    Simple solution. Pray anyway. It will literally take a bullet to stop me from praying to my God whenever and wherever I desire to do so. Period. This should be the stance of ALL Christians.

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