The Appignani Humanist Legal Center just scored a major victory for church-state separation!
The U.S. District Court of Maryland ended the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) long battle over legislative prayers in Carroll County, MD, by signing a final order prohibiting county commissioners from leading prayers at public meetings.
Since 2010, Carroll County has opened official county board meetings with a prayer delivered by one of the five elected commissioners on a rotating basis. At the time the complaint was filed all five commissioners were Christian and all five gave prayers. Under the decree that the judge signed just hours ago, Carroll County commissioners will be permanently prohibited from delivering any prayers at their public meetings.
“Carroll County’s prayers unconstitutionally wrapped the power and prestige of the government around the personal religious beliefs of elected officials,” explained Monica Miller, the AHA’s Legal Director and Senior Counsel. “The Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit long made clear that elected officials cannot constitutionally lead the public in prayers as part of official activities. This ruling vindicates the First Amendment rights of our clients and will force elected officials to finally comply with binding Establishment Clause precedent.”
You know that—as the Trump Administration and religious fundamentalists in the United States Senate continue to appoint conservative judges—the work of our legal team is increasingly important. Your past support made today’s victory possible, but we need your help now for the battles ahead.
Help us respond to church-state threats whenever and wherever they happen. Donate to the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center right now and keep up the fight for humanist rights.
P.S. Government should be neutral on religion, but it takes the work of organizations like the AHA to protect this fundamental right. Your support is crucial—I hope you’ll make a special gift to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center right now.