January 18, 2012
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a North Carolina county commission over Christian prayers before its public meetings, leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling that the prayers were in violation of the First Amendment, the Washington Post reports. Although the Forsyth County commission said its doors were open to religious leaders of any faith, the appeals court found that more than three-fourths of the 33 invocations given before meetings in 2007 and 2008 referred to "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Christ" or "Savior." The ruling doesn't ban prayers altogether, but requires that the county not favor one religion over another. David Cortman, an attorney representing Forsyth County, said the ruling made Christians second-class citizens: "America's founders never shied away from referencing the God to whom they were praying when offering public invocations," he said. "The citizens of Forsyth County should have this same opportunity."