Prayer Returns to Charlotte City Council Meetings After Confusion Cleared

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Prayer has returned to Charlotte’s city council meetings after confusion was cleared over whether or not city officials thought the practice should be discontinued due to a recent circuit court ruling.

“What the council is currently doing is okay,” Jason Kay of the Charlotte city attorney’s office told reporters. “It is perfectly constitutional.”

As previously reported, on Sept. 18, Mayor Jennifer Roberts announced during a city council meeting that the invocation would be discontinued upon the advice of City Attorney Bob Hagemann. She also sent an email to city council the following morning as she learned that some city council members didn’t actually agree with ending the prayer practice.

“Last night, at the open portion of our dinner meeting, the council agreed to end the invocation for our meetings, based on Bob Hagemann’s advice and email regarding recent Fourth Circuit decisions,” Roberts wrote, according to the Charlotte Observer.

“It appears that there is now some confusion about the unanimous head nods and agreement,” she continued. “Although no one present objected at the time, I have heard public statements by some that now do object.”

Some city council members said that their silence during the meeting was misinterpreted as agreement.

City Attorney Bob Hagemann also sent an email to Roberts and city council stating that he did not necessarily advise them to discontinue their prayer practice.

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“Just to be clear, I have not concluded and have not advised that the council’s invocation practice is unconstitutional. And I did not advise you to end the practice,” he wrote.

“In light of the Fourth Circuit’s decision in the Rowan County case …, there clearly are legal risks with invocation practices. Obviously, as I stated to you tonight, not providing invocations is 100 percent legally safe. But the Fourth Circuit did not hold that invocations at the beginning of a county commission or city council meeting are per se unconstitutional,” Hagemann said.

Kay explained to WCNC-TV that Hagemann’s remark that not having an invocation would be “100 percent legally safe” was misinterpreted as being his recommendation to do away with the prayer.

“The city attorney said that this particular practice, if you avoided it, would be 100 percent safe,” Kay outlined. “That was interpreted as advice not to do the practice. … I think there was some confusion on that, but it has been cleared up now.”

Therefore, on Monday, Hagemann explained to the council’s Governance and Accountability Committee that he believes the city’s practice is constitutional, but recommended that attendees not be asked to stand or join in the prayer, and that the person praying should not seek to convert anyone with his or her words.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the prayer practice consequently resumed this past week, with Councilman Kenny Smith leading the invocation.

Charlotte’s city council members take turns presenting prayers, and most invocations simply refer to God, while sometimes the name of Jesus is mentioned. Monday’s prayer referenced the Heavenly Father.

As previously reported, the Fourth Circuit ruling that sparked the discussion in the first place was the July decision in Lund v. Rowan County, in which the split federal court of appeals opined 10-5 that prayers presented during Rowan County’s commission meetings cannot be exclusively Christian.

It said that representing only one faith at public-attended government events violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Rowan County Commissioners unanimously decided on Monday to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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  • Awesome

  • james blue

    The problem isn’t opening meetings with prayer, it’s when they only allow prayer specific to one faith.

    • Jerome Horwitz

      There is actually no problem at all. The Constitution says they can pray.

      • james blue

        Try reading what I wrote again.

        • Jerome Horwitz

          Try reading the Constitution again.

          • james blue

            Okay so you are just trolling again. goodnight.

          • Jerome Horwitz

            Who is trolling? It seems you’re having a problem with facts.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            james blue is a paid troll. He trolls Christian sites.

          • james blue

            My comment history is open to public view, feel free to make that case.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            No thank you.

          • james blue

            Yet you obviously have been looking through my comment history, judging by the fact that you are telling others I’m a troll on 2 month old articles.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            After this post i will mot make another one to you as I believe you are a paid troll and I don’t want to help you earn any more from me.But something you said to someone bothered me. I’ll leave it at that.

          • james blue

            I’m sure I’ll cope

          • Eldrida Urika

            well, he’s one of the politest trolls and I’ve read his comments.
            He never gets upset with the other posters or hassles them…
            James blue would not get paid to troll, because he does an awful job of it.
            Trolls come to harass, not to try to discuss and offer his own opinions on the subject.
            Trolls will keep harassing anyone that reacts until they get bored and move on.
            James is more often a silent reader rather than a poster.

            I believe you have not described James blue as a troll well at all. He does not fit the title at all.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            On this sock puppet he much nicer than his others. And I don’t believe you are what you say you are.

          • Eldrida Urika

            My cousin used to post here. She’s Canadian, I’m American. I know we can fool relatives that know us by talking like the other. I’m pretty good at speaking Canadian too.
            I was at her place when she told me about this place. She helped me register too.
            Sock puppet? She didn’t tell me about those – what are they?
            It is my only account and I am not dishonest and I should not have to lie to be allowed to comment on a public comment board. I am Christian
            I assure you I am not anyone but Eldrida! I’m new to the internet and have only watched others who posted and read the ones here otherwise.

            I do have a very strong Faith and will not sit if someone is teaching someone without teaching them about the whole of salvation by repentance not just a part of it.
            I am also likely to know when a scripture isn’t a true copy as it is usually easy to tell.

            I’ve been in church most of my life and I do feel I know the bible fairly well.

            I’m sorry I make you uncomfortable, I will pray that you find peace within yourself and will realize that I am who God says I am and right now he uses Eldrida (not the name I will have in Heaven. )
            Blessings!!

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            I do not believe you. And I think I know who and what you are. And I do not trust you….

          • Eldrida Urika

            Why do you not believe that I had a cousin who posted here? Do you think it’s impossible to be true?
            I assure you I am not my cousin or anyone else. I have no clue how to help to stop you from thinking that I am someone else. I am me. I am Who God says I am. I don’t think the Lord would make any bad remarks to you about me if you want to ask, I’m all for it as I pray about practically everything, and find His answers just have to be found, to be known.
            He’s Wonderful! He’s Beautiful!! He’s JESUS!!
            Have a blessed day!

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            I don’t trust you. I see something in you that’s not right’ You are not to be trusted. I have seen a side of you that gives me ………. What is the word ………………
            We used to call it bad vibes. It’s still not the right word…………. All I know is you can’t be trusted.
            Good night.

          • Eldrida Urika

            Weird. most people seem to get good vibes from me. I’ve been easy to like all my life from what people have said.
            But if you want to go with your gut feeling I applaud your decision.
            Is not agreeing with your beliefs something that make you not trust?
            Or being friendly? My whole family including the branch in Canada are all really friendly people. I guess I can tone that down if it is against the rules, but I didn’t see that listed when I registered.
            I really don’t like when people don’t like me. I can never find out what it is that they in particular don’t like. If you know what is wrong, you can either correct it, or make a choice to stay or go, but not having a real understanding of the problem.
            Have a very good evening my sister. God’s blessings!

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            The ones who get good vibes are the ones like you………………… I sense something not right about you. I still do not trust you or anything you write.

          • Eldrida Urika

            “like me?” what like me? do we all have a similar trait that you are trying to see in me now? But first it would help to know how you can label me as “like them” when you don’t know me. Maybe if you tell me what I am doing like “them” I can tell you if I am one of “them” so you don’t have to wonder anymore? Ask me anything, I have no secrets to hide.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            Yes like you.Someone who one who thinks as you do. Or people who agree with the way you think or believe.

          • Eldrida Urika

            So, you don’t like ME because I have a different view on the Lord? That’s the only thing I’ve posted about.
            So, we both believe in Jesus, Bless the Lord! and so we should be both good people who loves everyone as Jesus gave us the command, as well as treating each other well.
            But you don’t like me? I’m sorry, that is confusing. Shouldn’t we support each other and actually favor another person of faith, when we know they are a believer?
            I don’t mean to sound uppity if I do. This is how I was taught and I have read the gospel through and can recall what I have read, and this is what Jesus spoke specifically about a couple of times.
            Galatians 3
            26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
            27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
            28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
            29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

            Shouldn’t people of faith discuss our faith with others to possibly get another understanding of something in the bible? I’ve read many things that say that the person was re-reading this one chapter that he understood it to mean “this” and when they read it again, they saw another way that it could be understood, and it increased his knowledge as well as made him more aware of that when they were reading their bible with the hopes of recognizing other verses that have more than one meaning and can be applied to our lives in a different way because of that new understanding.
            I hope I explained that to you clearly.
            I love God with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind and with all my strength, and that has nothing to do with the commandment because I loved him that way before I had read the N.T. He IS the Lord who is worthy of all our Praise and Worship. There is none greater than HE!
            Blessed be.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            In Christ I love you just as In Christ I love other unbelievers as well. I do not believe that you are a real believer in Christ and His Truth. And I still do not trust you and I do not trust what you say. I sense something not right about you.

          • Eldrida Urika

            Well, I told you my cousin used to post here and that she was banned, didn’t I? We are a lot alike because we spent a lot of time together while we were growing up, kind of like sisters, more than cousins?
            Whether I remind you of my cousin or not, shouldn’t you see me as an individual not as an extension of her? I’m a lot like her, but that does not mean we see eye to eye on every little thing. She’s Canadian for one thing, and I am from a small town USA so some things have to be different from that.
            I’m kinda of uncomfortable when you say there is something “not right” about me. It sounds like you think I’m crazy as opposed to expecting me to a good Christian, with a Christian belief.
            So, are we able to discuss what you think I am if I am not a real believer in Christ and His truth. I believe I am exactly that, so I’d like to know how I am not. I want to reflect Jesus in my life and if I am doing something wrong, I need to know about it, so I can check the scriptures to see if I can see the same thing in the scriptures you do, and grow in my belief about Jesus.
            I’d like to know what the difference between our beliefs are that cause you to feel the way you do. I would like to say that my faith is very strong in Jesus, and anything you say I cannot disagree with if it is in the scriptures. But I can see what you believe in the scriptures and maybe even change my view. I am afraid I’m not in a big city so I don’t have much knowledge of other religions beliefs. I am even new to a computer as it’s the first one we have owned. My cousin shows me stuff on the computer, but I never expected to need to learn about it. It’s like a whole new world has opened up for me!
            Anyway, if you like I’m willing to discuss it without getting in to who’s belief is right, because if it is in the bible it is a way that the Lord wants some people to believe just as it is the Lord’s decision about what church is the best for what kind of people. Isn’t that what Jesus was talking about with the 7 churches in Revelations?
            I’m sorry, I am not used to how this thing works and don’t realize how much I write until I finish it and need to go up to read it.
            A discussion about one thing we see differently in the bible would help a lot. You can choose what we discuss even.
            God Bless you in all ways, In Jesus’ name, Amen.

          • LadyInChrist♥BlessedBeTheLord

            So you are coming here to give Christians a hard time because you say your cousin got banned here? Something in what you are saying just don’t add up.I do not trust you and I am having a hard time trusting in what you are saying.Cousin or no cousin.

    • NCOriolesFan

      Our elected officials do NOT need to water down their beleifs to suit the crybabies, the bigots, whatever. The offended can stay outside till the prayer is finished.

      • james blue

        Again, try reading what I actually wrote.

      • Eldrida Urika

        Just wondering… if the situation was reversed and Christians had to remain outside until the prayer was finished, would you not feel uncomfortable having to wait, and slighted as well. Wouldn’t you think why do I have to stay outside, my religion is just as important than theirs? Where are my rights as a Christian?
        Ok, now reverse it back and understand that that is how they feel about staying outside until the prayer is finished.
        It’s the golden rule put into clarity: putting yourself in the other person’s places and being honest about how you would be in that situation yourself, gives a much better understanding about why things happen the way they have been happening in the World.
        It’s not hard to treat each other the way we want to be treated, and it increases the happiness in any situation. As a matter of a fact, it works for all interactions we have in our lifetime. You may have to be patient, but people will change how they speak to you in return. Especially if you speak quietly. People will stop and listen if you speak quietly and it is often the best way to discuss a problem with someone who is angry. I’ve told a few teenagers about it and it changed the relationship with their parents because they no longer yelled at each other.
        So I think it’s up to their beliefs, but that they need to allow others their beliefs too. It’s the Christian stand that we are better than others in the world that is what they are fighting against. We are supposed to be not of this world, so whether we are ‘better’ or not should have no bearing on what we do to stand out in public. If we want to be heard, and not be totally lost to the world, we need to start being humble towards the other beliefs and know that it is their choice to follow what they follow, a prayer is not asking others to believe what they believe, it’s just a temporary thing, like listening to another child read a poem when you are waiting to hear your own. It’s easy to get through, and if you expect to be very offended, discreetly plug your ears and pray to yourself.
        In the bible, Jesus told us that he will have “another flock” to retrieve at the end, so should we believe that Christianity is the only “flock” that Jesus tends?
        Hope this helps you! Blessings!

        • NCOriolesFan

          If I don’t like prayer from a Muslim, or someone else’s religion like it, I’ll stay outside till the perceived offending prayer is finished. This is called RESPECT.

          A WORSE use of tax time and dollars is called the court forced use tax dollars support of the so-called ‘right’ to abortion that SCOTUS says is a PRIVATE choice.

          • This style 10/6

            If it is your tax dollars you are worried about just consider that an abortion is far cheaper than a live birth, especially a live birth that is followed by years of welfare.

          • NCOriolesFan

            You are truly pathetic.

          • Eldrida Urika

            I agree with the staying outside if you are offended and are not uncomfortable with the idea. Respect for all people and all faiths is the way Jesus would want us to be even the ones who don’t follow him, because some of them will someday as his word says.

            I agree with both of your statements and it bothers me too. Abortion is as private manner as personal belief is, and should be not forced on anyone whether money or people and not the woman herself. It should be up to her and her conscience. If she chooses to go through with it, she will have to live with it all her life, and then deal with God’s wrath in the long run. No one will get away with any sin, and all will be exposed at Judgement.
            The Government has been doing many things against the people from what I have understood and you are not alone in how you feel. Some things have to happen so other things can also happen later.

            I am sorry that you sound so frustrated with these things.
            I do know frustration and can sympathize with that. There is nothing that makes us feel as helpless and not in control like we are at times in situations like those you mentioned.
            All I can suggest is that you try not to get so stressed about it. Make your stand clear, but that is all we can do at our level, isn’t it?

            I hope you will remember that you are too blessed to be stressed and that will help you clear your mind to work on how to fix the problems, not about how they are unfair, or incredibly wrong. If you can’t honestly find something you yourself can contribute to the changes that need to be made higher up, turn to your own area to make your stand and to try to change others views and maybe that will make a difference to something, so it isn’t so stressful for you. Take the control back and find out what you can do to help the cause you believe in. God bless!

        • mr goody two shoes

          That other flock is other Christians to. You might have heard The old joke referring to heaven be quiet those of that christian denomination think their the only ones up here .

          • Eldrida Urika

            No I have not heard that joke. Thank you for pointing out “those” denominations and not that all of us are like they are.
            That’s ok, I like quiet. I’m sure I’ll not be totally alone, and just the quiet denominations will be there – hence the quietness!
            Thanks for the reply! blessings!

          • Eldrida Urika

            By the way why do you believe the second flock will be Christians? I remember no reference to the flock except that he had to pick up another one at the time we are taken up to the cloud.
            Could you say why you think it, or is it just personal opinion.
            I’d be interested especially as I had not noticed it myself, nor had it pointed out to me.
            Thanks for the reply! Blessings!

  • IslandAtheist

    superstion hampers progress and doesn’t belong at government meetings.