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Members of Congress file brief in support of Rowan’s prayer practices

Eighteen members of Congress, including Republicans and Democrats, are lining up to support Rowan County commissioners’ prayer practices.

The group on Monday filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking to reverse a lower court’s ruling that declared Rowan’s prayer practices unconstitutional.

The Town of Greece v. Galloway ruling in 2014 – permitting volunteer chaplains to open each legislative session with a prayer — is cited and frequently compared in the brief to an April ruling by North Carolina’s Middle District Court.

Among other things, the brief argues Rowan County’s prayer practices are constitutional.

“The court determined that the fact that the prayers in Rowan County were delivered by members of the Board of Commissioners rendered them unconstitutional,” the brief states about a ruling in U.S. District Court. “This focus on the identity of the prayer-giver contravenes both history and Fourth Circuit precedent.”

Amicus briefs are common in federal trials and act as statements of support.

Members of Congress from North Carolina who supported the brief include: Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC; Rep. Alma Adams, D-12; Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5; Rep. George Holding, R-13; Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8; Rep. Walter Jones, R-3; Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10; Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11; Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-9; Rep. David Rouzer, R-7; and Rep. Mark Walker, R-6.

Democrat and former Rep. Mike McIntyre also supported the brief. McIntyre represented North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District during his time in Congress.

Speaking about his support for Rowan County’s prayer practices, Hudson said: “Prayer has long been an integral part of American government at all levels, uniting us all across diverse backgrounds, party lines and seemingly impossible odds. As a defender of our constitutional rights, I will continue to do all that I can to protect religious liberty and stand up for our right to pray.”

Hudson led the effort to file the amicus brief.

Members of Congress from other states who supported the brief included: Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan, SC-3; Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes, VA-4; Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, VA-6; Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-4; Republican Rep. Andy Harris, MD-1; and Sen. James Lankford, R-OK.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

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