Thursday, August 18, 2011

Virginia County Ignores ACLU Threat over Prayer

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors said it will continue to open meetings with prayer despite a warning from the American Civil Liberties Union that Christian prayer violates the First Amendment. To demonstrate their defiance, supervisors opened Tuesday night's board meeting in Chatham with not one but seven prayers.

UPDATE 10/21/11: County board asks judge to dismiss ACLU lawsuit

UPDATE 9/26/11: ACLU files lawsuit demanding injunction to cease prayers immediately

UPDATE 9/12/11 news report video (Board meeting):

UPDATE 9/7/11: ACLU lawsuit likely

UPDATE 8/31/11: Thousands expected at next Board meeting to support public prayer

UPDATE 8/26/11: Tunstall Supervisor and Board Chairman Tim Barber interviewed on “Fox & Friends:”

UPDATE 8/19/11: Support increases for Pittsylvania prayer

UPDATE 8/19/11: Conservative Rutherford Institute says board doesn't have a prayer in court

-- From "Pittsylvania Co. Officials: No More Invocation" by James Gherardi, WSET-TV13 8/17/11

For more than 200 years, the Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors has used Jesus Christ in their invocations at the beginning of their meetings. But Monday, they got a letter from the Virginia ACLU asking them to say it no more.

The Chairman of the Board, Tim Barber, says their government has used Christianity in meetings for years and a letter from a group in Richmond isn't going to stop that.

Board members aren't worried about a lawsuit. They say they decided unanimously at Monday night's meeting to ignore the letter and move forward with business as usual.

The board is comprised of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. The Chairman said their members even represent a wide variety of Christian Denominations.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pittsylvania County defies ACLU request to stop prayer" by Tim Davis, Chatham Star Tribune 8/17/11

After the customary invocation by Banister District Supervisor William Pritchett, the other six board members took turns praying - an outright challenge to an ACLU letter mailed to supervisors on Tuesday.

"The ACLU of Virginia has learned that opening invocations at the Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors meetings are consistently Christian in nature; that is, they explicitly refer to Jesus Christ," said ACLU legal director Rebecca Glenberg.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Meeting prayer support grows in Pittsylvania County" by John Crane, Lynchburg News and Advance 8/18/11

The host of a long-time local religious radio show will hold a rally supporting the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors in its spat with the American Civil Liberties Union over sectarian prayer during board meetings.

The Rev. R.J. “Brother Bob” Barber, host of “Tabernacle Time,” which airs on WAKG, will lead the event to be held at the board’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 in the General District Courtroom in Chatham. Everyone is invited to attend, Barber said.

In another gesture of solidarity with supervisors, prominent Danville attorney Ronald W. Williams has written a letter to the board’s chairman offering to represent the board if it were to go to court against the ACLU of Virginia.

If the issue goes to court, the county will choose a firm offering free services to avoid costing taxpayers money, Barber said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.