The Supreme Court announced their decision Thursday on whether to hear an appeal to a ban on public prayer before official meetings in the county of Rowan in North Carolina.
Here's what they said
In one of the last decisions by the court before it adjourned for the summer, they refused to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling upholding the ban on prayer before meetings of the Rowan Country Board of Commissioners.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court denied a request to hear Lund v. Rowan County, our challenge to a troubling government… https://t.co/fXthhS36Qm— ACLU (@ACLU) 1530194698.0
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) celebrated the decision from their social media account as a victory against what they considered an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
"The Supreme Court denied a request to hear Lund v. Rowan County, our challenge to a troubling government prayer practice that pressured the public to join in prayers that overwhelmingly advanced beliefs specific to one faith," they tweeted.
"Our victory in the lower court stands!" the ACLU account added.
The ACLU represented three Rowan County residents and filed the suit against the county over the public prayer. The county superintendents would pray on a rotating basis, or observe a moment of silence, but the ACLU argued that this was unconstitutional because the prayers overwhelmingly represented the Christian faith.
The Supreme Court decision to not hear the case means the lower court finding upholding the ban stays in force.
Prayer will continue
Although the Supreme Court decision upholds the ban on prayer by members of the county government, a lawyer for the county indicated that prayer would continue, just not by those members.
"The key is the prayers will continue," said National Center for Life and Liberty lawyer Barbara Weller, who represented Rowan. "It's just a matter of who is going to give them."
Here's a local news report about the case:
"Free from religious coercion"
"The bottom line is that local government meetings should be welcoming to all community members, regardless of their religious beliefs," said the ACLU in a previous statement. "We will continue defending the rights of our clients and all Rowan County residents to be free from religious coercion by government officials."