Religion

North Carolina Official Bans Non-Christian Prayers At Public Meetings

| by Michael Allen

A federal judge ruled on Monday that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners in North Carolina had acted in an unconstitutional manner when they asked the public to be part of their mostly Christian prayers during public meetings between 2007 and 2013.

The prayers opened with "Let us pray" or "Please pray with me" and included "Jesus" and "The Savior," reports the Lincoln Times-News.

U.S. District Judge James Beaty ruled that the board cannot ask the public to pray prayers that favor one faith, noted the ACLU of North Carolina website.

Commissioner Mike Caskey told WCNC that he hoped the board would appeal the ruling.

Commissioner Chairman Greg Edds opened Monday's meeting with a prayer. While he did not say the word "Jesus," he did mention “father” twice, reported the Salisbury Post.

About 48 miles away, Carrol Mitchem, chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, said this week that he would not allow a non-Christian prayer at their board meetings.

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Mitchem told the Lincoln Times-News:

A Muslim? He comes in here to say a prayer, I’m going to tell him to leave. 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]. 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.

When asked about his comments by WBTV, Mitchem stated:

Other religions, or whatever, are in the minority. The U.S. was founded on Christianity. I don't believe we need to be bowing to the minorities. The U.S. and the Constitution were founded on Christianity. This is what the majority of people believe in and it's what I'm standing up for.

Mitchem later added:

We're fighting Muslims every day. I'm not saying they're all bad. They believe in a different god than I do. If that's what they want to do, that's fine. But, they don't need to be telling us, as Christians, what we need to be doing. They don't need to be rubbing our faces in it.

Sources: ACLU of North Carolina, Lincoln Times-News, WBTV, WCNC, Salisbury Post
Image Credit: Taber Andrew Bain