Winston-Salem, NC-- A federal judge has ruled that the use of prayer to open a North Carolina county board of commissioners meeting violates the First Amendment.
U.S. District Judge James A. Beaty Jr. on Thursday adopted recommendations made earlier by a magistrate judge.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued in 2007 on behalf of two Forsyth County residents who said many meetings opened with Christian-themed prayers.
The commission said its policy of inviting outside clergy to deliver invocations meant it was staying neutral. But the ACLU and Americans United said any opening prayer must be nonsectarian for the government to be truly neutral.
The Alliance Defense Fund represented the board. A spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
AP/WFMY News 2