Beliefnet News

Seven of eight Forsyth County, North Carolina, commissioners say they will accept an offer from group of Christian attorneys to fight this week’s ban on praying in “Jesus’ name” all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Commissioners Dave Plyler, Everette Witherspoon and Richard Linville, the board chairman, all said after a closed meeting with the county’s attorney on Thursday that they would vote in favor of asking the nation’s highest court to reverse a lower-court decision that prohibited the board from opening their meetings with invocations ending in the customary Christian way, “in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Three other commissioners — Debra Conrad, Gloria Whisenhunt and Bill Whiteheart — were already firmly committed to trying for an appeal. That leaves Commissioner Walter Marshall as the sole vote in opposition when the board meets on Monday night to take action.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that by allowing sectarian prayers, the county was “advancing and endorsing Christianity to the exclusion of other faiths.”

The county has contended — unsuccessfully so far — that its policy favors no faith because it is open to all clergy.

The county will not be spending taxpayer dollars on the case since all costs will be picked up by a group of Christian attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund.

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