The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners had always opened government meetings with Christian prayer. About two months ago, officials decided that in order to avoid legal trouble, they’d have to let everyone participate.
That didn’t last long.
On Monday, commission chairman Carrol Mitchem, who had previously announced he wouldn’t “bow to minorities” and that he “ain’t gonna have no new religion or pray to Allah” at board meetings, held true to his word and walked out on the first person to address the North Carolina government meeting with a Muslim prayer, the Lincoln Times-News reports.
“That was very upsetting. It was upsetting,” Dustin Barto of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly, who had led the Muslim prayer, told WSCOTV.
By the end of the meeting, all prayer was banned at board meetings and will be replaced with a moment of silence. Commissioner Alex Patton initiated the motion which was easily voted into effect.
“To me, the final straw was when our chairman got up and walked out,” Patton told WSCOTV, adding that the commission needs to focus on pressing matters like the economy and education.
The issue of prayer at the meetings had generated months of controversy, the station reported.
Previously, Mitchem had vowed to keep Christian-only prayers at the meetings.
“I don’t believe we need to be bowing to the minorities,” Mitchem had told WBTV. “The U.S. and the Constitution were founded on Christianity. This is what the majority of people believe in, and it’s what I’m standing up for.”
The issue came up after nearby Rowan County was ordered by a federal judge to stop opening public meetings with sectarian prayer because it violated the Constitution.
“I don’t need no Arab or Muslim or whoever telling me what to do or us here in the county what to do about praying. If they don’t like it, stay the hell away,” Mitchem had responded. “We’re fighting Muslims every day. I’m not saying they’re all bad. They believe in a different God than I do. If that’s what they want to do, that’s fine. But, they don’t need to be telling us, as Christians, what we need to be doing. They don’t need to be rubbing our faces in it.”
Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions and does, in fact, adhere to the same God as Judaism and Christianity, Jibril Hough, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Charlotte, pointed out.
“If you don’t believe the rights of the minority are equal to the rights of the majority, then you are against what America stands for,” Hough told the Charlotte Observer. “That’s why we live in a democratic republic.”
Watch a report on the controversy from WBTV here:
McConnell’s impeachment collusion admission handed the Democrats a powerful new weapon to damage the president
Mitch McConnell's admission on Fox News that he is working behind the scenes with the White House to stack the Senate impeachment trial gives Democrats a potent weapon against the GOP, wrote Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman in the Washington Post.
"If Democrats play their procedural cards right, they can pressure Republicans to allow for a much fairer and more open trial that could actually produce new revelations — and if they refuse, extract a political price for it," they wrote.
McConnell bluntly defends working with Trump to undermine impeachment: ‘We’re on the same side’
Speaking in Kentucky on Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blithely blew off concerns about coordinating with Donald Trump's White House on how to handle the president's defense in the expected impeachment trial.
One day after admitting on Fox News that he was working hand-in-hand with the White House on impeachment tactics, McConnell was very blunt about his motivations when asked about his admission.
In a clip shared by MSNBC, the Senate leader was pressed about his plans.
"You told Sean Hannity last night you were coordinating with the White House when it comes to impeachment. Why is that appropriate?" McConnell was asked.
Bill Barr finally revealed the real reason he’s such an aggressive Trump defender
Attorney General Bill Barr has become a lightning rod of sorts in administration, standing out front and taking public hits as he does President Donald Trump’s dirty work at the Justice Department.
Far from being the institutionalist even many critics of Trump hoped Barr would be, the attorney general showed his true colors when he spun Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the conclusions of the Russia investigation. Mueller and his team so objected to that presentation that they sent Barr a letter arguing that the report had been distorted to the public. Barr later said that the letter was “snitty.” Since the end of the Mueller investigation, Barr has repeatedly and consistently proven himself to be a fierce defender of the president’s interests, regardless of the consequence of U.S. institutions.