Freedom from Religion Foundation threatens suit against Union Co.

Freedom from Religion Foundation threatens suit against Union Co.

Freedom from Religion Foundation threatens suit against Union Co.

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 12:50 PM

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Union County leaders could soon be facing a lawsuit over how they start County Commission meetings.

A group called The Freedom from Religion Foundation is warning the county to drop the opening prayer or face a lawsuit.

It's a topic Rowan County leaders are familiar with. The County Commission has been sued by the ACLU over its Christian prayers before meetings.

The Wisconsin-based nonprofit foundation set their sights on Union County in February after receiving complaints from a local resident. FFRF says Union County leaders never responded to their initial letter demanding the commissioners end the practice of opening their meetings with prayer.

Union County board Chair Jerry Simpson told the Charlotte Observer that commissioners take turns offering the invocation, or they designate someone to do it for them, such as a local pastor. Spirituality, he says, is a part of the lives of a huge majority of county residents, and they appreciate that commissioners make prayer part of their meeting.

Commissioner Jonathan Thomas says Union County residents knew his values—and those of his fellow commissioners when they voted them into office.

“I’m not aware of anybody in Wisconsin who voted for me,” Thomas told the Charlotte Observer.

Rowan County leaders are fighting the lawsuit, but Union County leaders haven’t said yet if they intend to make any changes. 

The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.

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