Carroll County Commissioners revert to disputed prayer policy

WESTMINSTER, Md. - The Carroll County Commissioners are reverting to a disputed prayer policy in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The five Republican commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to reverse their April decision limiting opening prayers at public meetings to nonsectarian invocations. Last month's resolution followed a federal court order barring the commissioners from opening their meetings with overtly Christian prayers .

In a ruling Monday, the Supreme Court approved of Christian opening prayers said by clergy at public meetings in the town of Greece, New York.

"We were hopeful that that would have an impact on our case and it does," Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier said.

The high court decision prompted the federal judge in Baltimore to lift his restriction on the Carroll County prayers. But the plaintiffs in the underlying lawsuit say the Supreme Court ruling shouldn't apply to Carroll County, where the prayers are said by the commissioners themselves.

"Our case still is pending, that hasn't been finalized but we feel pretty confident that this will be closed out for us and that the Supreme Court will rule and we will be able to continue," Commissioner Frazier said.

The prayer debate in the county had a lot of people talking.
 
"It was in every article, tons of letters to the editor in Carroll County Times. I knew it was a hot topic," Meghan Schatz, a senior at McDaniel College, told ABC2. 
 
That is the reason she made it the subject of her senior project. "In Jesus Name" is a documentary about the controversy surrounding the prayers at Carroll County Board of Commissioner meetings. 
 
Frazier said she is not sure exactly when an official decision will come down on their case but said it is likely within the next 30 to 90 days.
 
She is also facing contempt of court charges for reading a prayer she said George Washington wrote after a judge filed an injunction.

SEE RELATED: Carroll prayer opens separation of church and state debate in Maryland

 

This article contains contributions from The Associated Press and ABC2 News reporter Katrina Bush.

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