Henderson County commissioners voted 4-0 Monday to return prayer to their meetings inside the Historic Courthouse after a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week overturned a prohibition on government-sanctioned invocations, according to the Hendersonville Times-News.
Board members, along with county staff, had been praying at a flagpole outside the courthouse since the American Civil Liberties Union won a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2012 banning sectarian prayer at government meetings.
But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that nonbelievers and those of other faiths had no cause for grievance if government meetings were opened with a Christian prayer. Such invocations are not an endorsement of a particular religion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court majority.
The commissioners reinstated a policy — with one slight wording change — that they set out several years ago. It allows invocations by different community religious leaders, “inviting only those in attendance who wish to do so to participate.”