A federal judge in North Carolina has ruled that commissioners in one local county can’t present prayers only in Jesus’ name even if they all are Christians because doing so isn’t “nondiscriminatory” toward other religions and elevates Christianity in government. As previously reported, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) had filed suit against the Rowan County commissioners in March 2013, complaining that their invocations have asserted that “there is only one way to salvation, and that is Jesus Christ,” and thank the Lord for the “virgin birth,” the “cross at Calvary” and “the resurrection.”

“I want my local government to be open and welcoming to people of all beliefs,” Nan Lund, a local resident who is among three plaintiffs named in the suit, stated in a news release announcing the legal challenge. “But when officials begin a public meeting with prayers that are specific to only one religious viewpoint, I feel unwelcome and excluded.” In July 2013, federal Judge James A. Beaty Jr., nominated to the bench by then-President Bill Clinton, sided with the ACLU and the three complainants, ordering the commissioners to end their Christian prayer practice while the case moves forward in court. MORE