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Md. County Reinstates Controversial Prayer Policy

09-08-2014
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Carroll County, Maryland, officials have reinstated Christian prayers at their public meetings, even though their policy is still in legal limbo.

All five members of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to revert to a disputed prayer policy.

The decision was made after the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion earlier in the week that affirmed Christian prayers at government meetings.

Opponents still believe the commissioners' prayers are unconstitutional because they're elected public officials, not clergy.

As CBN News reported, the American Humanist Association filed a new motion seeking to reinstate a temporary ban on the practice after Monday's high court ruling, claiming the prayers amount to establishment of a state religion and coercion.

Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, who is also an attorney, acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court ruling "didn't necessarily affirm" the county's practice, but he added "as long as we're not proselytizing or denigrating ... that's not a violation."

In March, Maryland District Judge William D. Quarles issued a preliminary injunction barring sectarian prayers at the county meetings. But he lifted that ban within hours of Monday's Supreme Court ruling.

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