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Court Draws Line On Church-State Separation
Updated July 17, 2017 4:42 PM
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(NORTH CAROLINA) - A divided en banc U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals settled a church-state dispute by ruling that a North Carolina county board's ritual of opening its meetings with a Christian prayer was constitutionally offensive.

The court held that the Rowan County commissioners' practice violated the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment which together create a bulwark against governmental sponsorship of a religion while protecting the right of all citizens to follow any religion they choose.

"The Constitution does not allow what happened in Rowan County. The prayer practice served to identify the government with Christianity," the appeals court said.

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