by: Trish Williford Updated:
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Local commissioners caught in a legal battle over prayer bowed their heads despite a ruling from the highest court in the country but they did not say their God’s name.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday it is legal for local leaders to pray before meetings but for months now, Rowan County leaders have been fighting a federal lawsuit that prohibits them from doing so.
Rowan County Commissioners are calling the ruling a victory but they can't celebrate just yet and at Monday night’s meeting, they couldn’t use Jesus’ name when they prayed.
“We still have a standing order about our prayer we're going to honor that injunction to the best of our ability,” said James Sides, commissioner chairman.
Rowan County led the fight in the local battle over Christian prayer and in 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the county.
A judge issued an injunction against the prayers and despite the nation's highest court ruling, that injunction still stands.
Residents, many of whom protested pushing for the prayers to continue, told Channel 9 they are in full support of the high court ruling.
County lawyers will consult with attorneys for the ACLU and they plan to file motions to have the injunction dropped.
The ACLU of North Carolina called the ruling a setback.
"Opening government meetings with prayers from a specific religious viewpoint tells citizens with different beliefs that they are not welcome and sends a message that the government endorses certain religious views over others," officials said in a statement.
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