Rowan County commissioners decided to obey a court order and did not pray in front of residents at their meeting late Monday afternoon, but Eyewitness News was in the meeting where others stood up and prayed instead.
Rowan County commissioners decided to recess when they would normally pray in order to not break the law in accordance with a court injunction.
Monday, they are meeting for the first time since a federal judge granted an injunction two weeks ago mandating that they stop using a specific religious prayer before meetings.
The issue is not really prayer; it is praying using a specific religion while sitting on the board as a commissioner.
So when commissioners recessed for those three minutes, people inside the chambers began to pray in Jesus' name on their own.
The meeting began with commissioners reluctantly following the court order, calling it unconstitutional.
"While we disagree with this injunction, we've chosen to voluntarily comply with it while the Supreme Court hears a similar legislative prayer case," said Chairman Jim Sides.
Commissioners left and said people could have a moment of silence.
Many residents prayed in Jesus' name after commissioners made their decision to break a 20-year tradition in order to not break the law.
The American Civil Liberates Union had filed a lawsuit in March on behalf of three Rowan County residents complaining that commissioners were alienating members of the community by opening their meeting with a prayer for one specific religion.
One of the people who felt comfortable with the prayers was Blaine Gorney.
"Government should have separation of church and state, and that's one of the reasons I'm here," said Gorney.
He wanted commissioners to follow the law.
"We're going to cease the sectarian prayer being paid for by tax dollars," said Gorney.
But without a commissioner-led prayer, there was still a lot of praying in Jesus' name on Monday.
Now, commissioners are looking to the U.S. Supreme Court to help them get back to praying as a part of official business.