The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners had always opened government meetings with Christian prayer. About two months ago, officials decided that in order to avoid legal trouble, they’d have to let everyone participate.
That didn’t last long.
On Monday, commission chairman Carrol Mitchem, who had previously announced he wouldn’t “bow to minorities” and that he “ain’t gonna have no new religion or pray to Allah” at board meetings, held true to his word and walked out on the first person to address the North Carolina government meeting with a Muslim prayer, the Lincoln Times-News reports.
“That was very upsetting. It was upsetting,” Dustin Barto of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly, who had led the Muslim prayer, told WSOC-TV.
By the end of the meeting, all prayer was banned at board meetings and will be replaced with a moment of silence. Commissioner Alex Patton initiated the motion which was easily voted into effect.
“To me, the final straw was when our chairman got up and walked out,” Patton told WSCOTV, adding that the commission needs to focus on pressing matters like the economy and education.
The issue of prayer at the meetings had generated months of controversy, the station reported.
Previously, Mitchem had vowed to keep Christian-only prayers at the meetings.
“I don’t believe we need to be bowing to the minorities,” Mitchem had told WBTV. “The U.S. and the Constitution were founded on Christianity. This is what the majority of people believe in, and it’s what I’m standing up for.”
This is what freedom of religion really means in America: the freedom to inflict Christianity by law upon the rest of the people, but any other religion (or distinct lack of one) is not tolerated. I'm glad that Lincoln County finally got rid of the prayer sessions, but the journey to get there was spiteful, ignorant, and discriminatory to say the least.
The sad part is I don't see the Supreme Court stepping in to stop this nonsense anytime soon, and in fact I'm pretty sure there's at least four justices who will make it worse whenever possible.