Recently, our Charlotte City Council has “grappled” with the matter of opening their meetings in prayer. They have gone back and forth. First, Mayor Roberts completed removed all prayer from the council meetings. But then, she reversed that decision once she realized that there wasn’t unanimity among the other council members.
The Rowan County commissioners have been dealing with a similar situation which has been going on for quite some time. The Rowan County commissioners were sued by the ACLU for beginning their council meetings in prayer. This has been going back and forth in the court system. The following is a recently letter that we received from Return America that explains the current situation in Rowan County. Please continue to pray for the commissioners in Rowan County. They still have quite a battle in front of them!
Return America has recently been involved in the Rowan County prayer issue. I and Attorney David Gibbs, 111, and other lawyers met with the county commissoners in a closed session. The ACLU had placed a lawsuit against them because they begin their sessions in prayer . The case was appealed to the 4th Circuit Court in Richmond, Virginia. Originally, three judges heard the case and ruled in favor of the Rowan County commissioners . True to form, the ACLU appealed the decision to the full circuit in Richmond. They then ruled against Rowan County.
The 4th Circuit Court used to be a very conservative court. However, under Barak Obama the court was stacked with liberal justices and as a result what was a very conservative court has now been transformed into a very liberal court. They are now in line with the very liberal 9th Circuit Court in California .
Fortunately in the mean time, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case from Greece, New York, that prayer before public meetings was and is acceptable. This case was a severe blow to the very liberal ACLU . However, in Rowan County the commissioners themselves have chosen to pray, and many of them close their prayer in the Name of Jesus. Therefore the ACLU placed another lawsuit against them because they choose to pray as government officials.
The good news has now come down from Jackson, Michigan, where the county commissioners there had chosen to pray individually. Some had chosen to close their prayer in the Name of Jesus. They to were challenged in court. A few days ago, the 6’h Circuit Court ruled in favor of those commissioners . The concurring judge made a tremendous statement in his closing opinion: “But the United States Constitution does not tell federal judges to hover over each town hall meeting in the country like a helicopter parent, scolding/ revising/ okaying the content of this legislative prayer or that one.” The judge further stated, “So long as the prayer giver does not try to coerce anyone into adopting their faith, so long in other words as the individual gives an invocation, not an altar call, I see no meaningful role for judges to play.” This was a victory lap written by a judge who seems to know what an altar call consists of!
On September 25, 2017, the Rowan County commissioners voted unanimously to appeal the 4th Circuit Court’s decision to the United States Supreme Court. Please pray that the United States Supreme Court will hear the appeal.
Return America has been actively involved in this prayer issue in Rowan County, bringing 4,000 people to the Rowan County Courthouse in support of the county commissioners . We will continue to stand with them until the final verdict is issued.
Thank you for your continued support of Return America. We are able to get involved and let all of our voices be heard because of your prayers and financial giving. You are a blessing, and we sincerely thank you for being so!