The Rowan County Board of Commissioners opens its public meetings with an invocation given by one of the Commissioners. Ninety-seven percent of these invocations are explicitly Christian, and Commissioners direct the audience to participate in the prayers. The Commissioners have made statements suggesting that the County views non-Christian beliefs with disfavor, and they have created an atmosphere that led to the harassment of religious minorities at Board meetings.
For years, the Forsyth County Board of Supervisors invited local clergy to deliver sectarian prayers at Board meetings; most of the prayers were Christian. In March 2007, the plaintiffs Americans United and the ACLU of North Carolina challenged the Board’s prayer policy in federal court. In January 2010, the trial court ruled that the prayer policy was unconstitutional and had the effect of affiliating the County with Christianity.