MATTHEWS – Town attorney Charles Buckley briefed the board of commissioners June 24 about a recent court ruling regarding invocations at government meetings.
Rowan County earlier this year agreed to pay $285,000 to the ACLU for court costs after losing a five-year court battle over the legality of prayers offered by county commissioners at public meetings. Of 143 prayers listed in the suit that were offered by commissioners, 139 were Christian-based prayers. The county also asked citizens attending board meetings to stand during the invocation.
Matthews commissioners currently rotate offering the invocation before meetings. Some commissioners offer their own invocation while others have had citizens come in and give the invocation. Citizens have not been asked to stand during the invocation in Matthews, which was a major point in the Rowan County suit as they had citizens stand during the invocation.
Commissioners agreed to mix up future invocations, which will include asking representatives of different faiths to deliver the invocation. Instead of an invocation, the board could also have a moment of silence before some meetings.