So long as the ones praying are official chaplains or are selected on a rotation, let them pray according to their own consciences.
There are some organizations in this country that can’t bear the thought that someone is praying in a public meeting. Among these are the ACLU, the American Humanist Association, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and my favorite In Reason We Trust. It isn’t a slur or political rhetoric to say that these groups want to stamp out prayer. They really do!
In former years the targets have been the City of Woodruff, Spartanburg County, the City of Aiken, the Town of Great Falls, the Savannah River Site and the Lexington-Richland School District 5 school board.
Several of these complaints were rolled into the Forsyth case which was in turn made a part of the Town of Greece case that made it all the way to the US Supreme Court. In a landmark decision, SCOTUS ruled for us.
The Town of Greece decision was so strong that the SC General Assembly ensconced its core principles into our state statutes earlier this year at our request.
But the seculars are relentless.
In recent months, they have come after the Berkeley County School Board, the Pickens County School Board and over the border the Rowan County (NC) Commission in the atheist crosshairs.
So far, Pickens and Berkeley are moving in the right direction and have avoided court, but Rowan has had to fight. After losing at the district level last year, a three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (Richmond) ruled today in favor of Rowan County’s right to open their meetings with a prayer that may at times be lifted…hold onto your hat…in the name of Jesus.
As the lead organization that worked for two versions of the SC Public Invocations Act (2008 and 2016), our position is simple: so long as the ones praying are official chaplains or are selected on a rotation, let them pray according to their own consciences.
The courts are starting to agree.
Just one more thing. The ACLU et al. need to get off their high horses about history. To hear them tell it, the Founding Fathers to a man believed in a Blind Watchmaker and got their knickers in a wad if someone said Jesus on public soil. Please. Even moderate narrative historians like Joe Meacham debunk such notions.
If you know of other instances where the freedom to pray is being threatened, please let us know. And if you live in Berkeley or Pickens Counties, be sure to sign up to receive our Calls to Action. We may have work to do if the ACLU fax keeps shooting from the hip.
Dr. Oran Smith
Former President & CEO
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