Jones County: Praying At Public Meetings Won't Stop

By: April Davis/ Carly Swain
By: April Davis/ Carly Swain

A separation of church and state is bringing one county together. Complaints of prayer at Jones County Commissioners meetings has prompted public feedback, and demands for action at a public hearing Monday morning.

According to the Jones County Attorney the ACLU says they've gotten two phone call complaints about prayer at those county commissioner meetings. No word on who's complaining, but those who are standing up for prayer are very vocal.

Jones County is rural and religious. According to the county lawyer, the ACLU has had two complaints via phone call about prayers. One from somewhere in the county- and one out of Pollocksville. The ACLU is not revealing the names of those complainants. However those who support christian-laden prayer say the county should keep praying at public meetings and said so at the meeting Monday morning.

"This country was founded on christian principals and for us to throw the name of Jesus Christ to the curb- I don't think it's the will of the people," said Gerald Metts.

"Even if we do lose the battle, we need to stand on what we believe is right," said Wilbur Parker.

"History is on our side. The lord is on our side. And we need to be on his side," said Debbie Metts.

After hearing comments, the counsel answered the big question: What are you doing about it now? The Board of Elections says to get something on the ballot this November, they need a referendum from state legislators. It was a unanimous decision to get the ball rolling on that. In the meantime these commissioners are staying true to their tradition and conviction. The state referendum needs to be in by August 28th.

The debate over religion-specific prayers at county meetings began in Forsyth County after a 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling prohibited those commissioners from beginning their meetings with prayers from a particular religion.

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