Friday, January 29, 2010

North Carolina County's Sectarian Prayers Violate Establishment Clause

In Joyner v. Forsyth County, North Carolina, (MD NC, Jan. 28, 2010), a North Carolina federal district court adopted a magistrate's recommendations (see prior posting) and concluded that the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners' invocation policy, as implemented, violates the Establishment Clause. The court found that the prayers offered at Board meetings advance one particular faith and have the effect of affiliating the Board with that faith. The court said that going forward, the county has three options: (1) do not open meetings with prayers; (2) open meetings with non-sectarian prayers; or (3) implement an invocation policy that involves diversity and inclusiveness in the prayers offered. ACLU of North Carolina issued a release approving of the decision. AP reported on the decision.