Prayer rally includes 1,000 in Rowan County
SALISBURY — More than 1,000 people attended a prayer rally before the Rowan County Commission meeting in Salisbury.
The group sang patriotic songs and hymns before the meeting Monday night.
The American Civil Liberates Union sued the commission in March on behalf of three people who complained commissioners were alienating members of the community by opening their meeting with a prayer for a specific religion.
Commissioner Mike Caskey opened Monday's meeting with a prayer that ended with the words; "I ask this in his name, who is above all other names." Caskey did not use Jesus' name in the prayer.
A Forsyth County-based group called Return America organized the rally to support the Rowan commission's practice of praying before its meetings.
Dr. Ron Baity, a pastor and president of Return America, says he told the commission that if the right to pray is lost in public, people will next attack prayer in churches.
Baity told the crowd, "We sent a great message today for the cause of Jesus Christ."
He said the organization may ask the crowds to return to commission meetings before November, when the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on prayer before governmental meetings.