Non-belief group speaks out against Rowan County Commission prayers
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CHARLOTTE -- Rowan County Commissioners are facing more opposition. Members of Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics are publicly speaking out for the first time against the board's sectarian prayer practice. It's the first open opposition from a non-belief group stated in a letter sent Sunday, and posted on their website, from the group's president, Shawn Murphy.
"We want them to know that they have non-believers in their community, and believers of other faiths," said Murphy.
Some of them belong to CAA, which claims to be the largest non-belief group in the Charlotte area with more than 1,200 registered members. They're members Murphy says in the letter as being "met with animosity, hate filled speech, and in some cases violence," for opposing the commissions opening sectarian prayers.
It's just one reason why Murphy says it's time to join the ACLU in speaking out against the practice that ignores a ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in January banning sectarian prayer in government.
"The commissioners decided to ignore the ACLU deadline and this upset a number of our members," said Murphy.
A letter from the ACLU sent last month asked commissioners to respond to their request to end the sectarian practice by March 5, the same day as the last commission meeting.
Murphy says CAA recognizes prayer before meetings is tradition in Rowan County and throughout North Carolina. But states in the letter, they continue to alienate they're constituency of non-believers, "including believers of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Wicca and many other faiths."
The group's president says they're monitoring the practices of other municipalities as well. The ACLU said Monday they have no new plans to take further action against Rowan County at this time.