Although Gibbs and Weller have been fighting for several decades to protect legislative prayers in Jesus’ name all across America, the ACLU began this particular Rowan County case in 2013. Initially, the ACLU’s lawsuit alleged that legislative prayers offered in Jesus’ name violated the US Constitution. When that question was decided favorably by the US Supreme Court in 2014, the ACLU refused to concede defeat and began to argue instead that sectarian prayers could not be offered by the legislators themselves.
This is an important legal question not only for Rowan County but also for every other legislative body in America where legislators continue to offer prayers before their meetings, often ending those prayers in Jesus’ name and referencing other aspects of biblical Christianity.
The arguments at the Fourth Circuit Court were particularly lively yesterday, with the three appellate judges appearing to be very well prepared and knowledgeable about the issue and asking numerous penetrating questions of both sides. While the NCLL, the commission chair, and the assembled “dream team” were all very encouraged at the conclusion of these arguments, there is never any way to predict how a court will rule on any given question.
Please pray for a good result as these appellate court judges now continue to review the briefs and the arguments made in court. It may be several months before the court will hand down its ruling.