By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
July 26, 2013
SALISBURY — An injunction against sectarian prayers at meetings of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners should lead to more supplications, not less, said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina.
“Believers across the state should be on their knees lifting up these county leaders and those involved in the courts, crying out to the Lord to bring true freedom of religion back to our nation,” Dr. Creech said. “Refusing to allow Christians to pray in Jesus’ name is telling them how to practice their faith, an obvious violation of the First Amendment.”
The ruling, filed this past week in U.S. Middle District Court by Judge James A. Beatty Jr., prohibits prayers that recognize a single religion while a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of three Rowan County residents is being considered.
“Members of the community should be treated and welcomed equally by their government regardless of their personal religious beliefs,” Chris Brook, the North Carolina ACLU’s legal director, told the media this week. Dr. Creech wholeheartedly agreed.
“Of course we should all be treated equally,” he said. “So far as we know, no one has claimed that these commissioners treated anyone unfairly at a meeting or in relation to his or her personal beliefs.”
At least one of the ACLU’s clients said the purpose of the suit was to make sure people “feel equal” and that they “not feel left out when they come to a meeting.”
Dr. Creech said the case and the judge’s application of the law should focus on freedoms and actions, not feelings.
“Our Constitution guarantees that people have the right to exercise free speech and religion. It does not ensure that everyone in earshot of that exercise will ‘feel’ good about it,” he said. “All of us hear, read and see things every day that don’t align with our beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t receiving equal treatment under the law. How we’re treated and how we feel are two different things.”
He said despite the injunction, he is hopeful the ultimate ruling in the case will favor the practice of public prayer prior to government meetings, a tradition that predates America’s founding.