According to a report by the Associated Press, elected officials practice of opening meetings in Rowan County with Christian prayer and inviting audience members to join is unconstitutional a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that found Rowan County commissioners prayer practice to be "unconstitutionally coercive."

The question in the Rowan County case was that the prayers were given by the commissioners themselves and whether their invitation for the audience to join them in prayer is coercive.

The 4th Circuit ruled that because the commissioners were the exclusive prayer givers, their practice "falls well outside the more inclusive, ministered-oriented practice" endorsed by the Supreme Court.

"The prayer practice served to identify the government with Christianity and risked conveying to citizens of minority faiths a message of exclusion," the majority opinion said.

The full 4th Circuit heard the case in March after a divided three-judge panel said Rowan County commissioners had a constitutional right to open meetings with prayers as long as they don't pressure observers to participate.

This closely watched case is believed to likely be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for an ultimate decision.

 

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Local News

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    On Thursday, February 22nd, the Sandhills Woman’s Exchange hosted local author Jodi Barth for a Lunch n’ Learn Lecture. Read More
  • Arts Council Music Series Continues With Award-Winning Artists! +

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  • Eat A Sub In March & Help Two Area Charities +

    Jersey Mike’s Kicks off 8th Annual “Month of Giving” in March Read More
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Crime Reports

  • Pinehurst Police Traffic Checkpoints Result In More Than 30 Charges +

    The Pinehurst Police Department conducted traffic checkpoints and a speed enforcement operation Wednesday evening that resulted in more than 30 Read More
  • Sanford Man Wanted Following Undercover Drug Investigation “Operation Leader” +

    A Sanford man is wanted following the conclusion of the yearlong undercover drug investigation led by the Southern Pines Police Department Read More
  • Southern Pines Police Department Announces the Conclusion of “Operation Leader” with Multiple Arrests +

    Southern Pines, NC – On February 20, 2018, Lee Marvin Harris Junior, age 32, of Aberdeen and Charlotte, North Carolina Read More
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Obituaries

  • John Valley Winchester of Pinehurst Obituary +

    John Valley Winchester, age 93, of Pinehurst, North Carolina formerly of Pickens, South Carolina, passed away on Wednesday, February 21, Read More
  • Larry Lankford of Whispering Pines Obituary +

    Larry Lankford, 84, of Whispering Pines, died Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at Hospice House in Pinehurst, NC. Read More
  • Gladys “Gin” Hussey Hearn of Seven Lakes Obituary +

    Gladys “Gin” Hussey Hearn, 91 of Seven Lakes, NC died on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at Quail Haven Nursing Facility Read More
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Accident & Fire

  • 3 Transported After Vehicle Overturns In Pinehurst Accident Monday +

    Two adults and a five year old child were transported to the hospital after their SUV overturned in a two-vehicle Read More
  • Woman Trapped After Vehicle Overturns In Southern Pines Wreck Sunday +

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  • One Dies In Three Vehicle Pinehurst Wreck Saturday +

    A man reported to be in his nineties died in a three vehicle accident in Pinehurst Saturday afternoon only blocks from Read More
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