Rowan County Commission prays behind closed doors

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 01:32 PM

Rowan County commissioners have obeyed a court order and did not pray in public at their latest meeting.

Instead, they went behind closed doors for prayer before the meeting Monday.

A federal judge issued an injunction last month that blocked commissioners from offering prayers specific to one religion at their meetings.

"While we disagree with this injunction, we've chosen to voluntarily comply with it while the Supreme Court hears a similar legislative prayer case," said Commission Chairman Jim Sides.

The American Civil Liberates Union had sued in March on behalf of three Rowan County residents who complained that commissioners were alienating members of the community by opening their meeting with a prayer for one specific religion.

The suit said that 97 percent of the commission's meetings over the past five years opened with sectarian prayer.

Nan Lund, one of the three plaintiffs in the case, said sectarian prayer violates the law.

"Elected officials are sworn to uphold the law," Lund said. "I'd like to think I live in a county where officials do that."