A federal appeals court announced Nov. 1 that it will reconsider a ruling that allowed the Rowan County, N.C., Board of Commissioners to open its meetings with public prayers, most of which were Christian in nature.
A Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ policy barring people who do not believe in God from offering pre-meeting invocations is discriminatory, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
In a federal lawsuit filed today, Americans United and American Atheists explain that several non-theists who requested to deliver opening invocations before the House were deemed ineligible on the grounds that they are “non-adherents or nonbelievers.”
Officials in an Arizona town have decided to change the community’s invocation policy after Americans United raised the possibility of a lawsuit.
Members of the Chino Valley Town Council had been in the habit of reciting mostly Christian prayers out loud before meetings. The new policy, approved unanimously, calls for them to pray together before meetings out of public view after some members of the community complained.
The Phoenix City Council has decided to once again begin its meetings with official prayers after a brief flirtation with an opening moment of silence lead to community backlash.
The city council voted 6-2 March 23 to bring back spoken prayers to its meetings. The invocations may only be made by chaplains for the local police and fire departments.
The Cleveland County, N.C., Board of Education voted recently to end its practice of opening meetings with a moment of silence in favor of allowing official invocations.
Last year, the board voted 8-2 to continue its previous policy of beginning meetings with a moment of silence. But some local agitators were upset by that decision and called for more vocal forms of religion to be injected into the meetings.
The Collier County, Fla., School Board has decided against opening its meetings with an invocation. Some local residents had called for the invocations as an alternative to the board’s current practice of opening its meetings with a moment of silence.
Ian Smith, a staff attorney for Americans United, sent the school board a letter informing them that prayer at school board meetings violates the First Amendment.
Rob Hudelson, a member of the Coolidge, Ariz., City Council, has strong opinions about the role of Christianity in government.
“I think it’s very important,” Hudelson said during a September council meeting. “We just proclaimed Constitution Week. You know what was said at the end of the [Revolutionary] War? A treaty in Paris that said, ‘In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.’ You don’t get that from the Quran. You get it from the Bible. You get it from Christianity. That’s our heritage.”
The Rowan County, N.C., Board of Commissioners’ practice of coercing citizens to participate in Christian prayers at its meetings should be struck down, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
Officials in Coolidge, Ariz., must immediately amend a newly adopted prayer policy that requires Christian prayers at its public meetings, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Jackson County, Mich., Board of Commissioners has violated the First Amendment by composing and delivering Christian prayers at its public meetings and pressuring citizens to participate in those prayers, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.