New Board Silent on Prayer Policy in Md. County - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Board Silent on Prayer Policy in Md. County

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WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) - The newly elected Carroll County Commissioners are standing silent on a disputed public-prayer policy.

The five-member, all-Republican board opened its first meeting Tuesday in Westminster with a moment of silence instead of a prayer. They took no official action regarding the previous board's policy of opening meetings with sometimes overtly Christian prayers, said by the commissioners themselves.

That practice faces a federal court challenge alleging that elected officials violate the First Amendment prohibition on state-sponsored religion when they recite overtly Christian opening prayers.

The Supreme Court ruled in a New York case in May that invited clergy may invoke specific deities in prayers at government meetings.

Commissioner Richard Rothschild, one of two returning members, prayed aloud during a swearing-in ceremony that the new board would continue to have opening prayers.

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