AHA News |  

American Humanist Association Sues Carroll County Commissioners over Christian Prayers at Meetings

AHA says Board of Commissioners violated separation of church and state

For Immediate Release

Contact: William Burgess, bburgess@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x 102

(Washington, DC, May 1, 2013) — The Board of Commissioners in Carroll County, Maryland, was sued today by the Washington DC-based American Humanist Association for opening its meetings with Commissioner-delivered sectarian prayers.

According to the legal filing, prayers containing the Christian references “Jesus,” “Lord” and “Savior” were delivered on more than 50 separate occasions at board meetings held during 2011 and 2012. In March 2012, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association sent a letter to the Board of County Commissioners explaining how such prayers are unconstitutional. No reply was received.

“As the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has already decided, it is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause when a legislature opens its sessions with sectarian prayers,” said William Burgess, coordinator of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The Carroll County board has unconstitutionally affiliated itself with and promoted Christianity through these prayers.”

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs in the case find the sectarian prayers “divisive and exclusionary, leaving them to conclude that they are unwelcome at Board meetings and political outsiders in their own community.” 

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Carroll County is just northwest of Baltimore and includes the cities of Westminster and Taneytown. It borders on Pennsylvania.

The complaint is available online here.

###

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington D.C., its work is extended through more than 160 local chapters and affiliates across the United States. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and The Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms a responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

Hake v. Carroll County complaint by Appignani Humanist Legal Center

 

American Humanist Association

Responding to reporters this morning as the AHA's latest case gets national atte...

22 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Lots of press coverage this morning on our New Jersey lawsuit challenging 'under...

22 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Earth Day Everyone! Be kind to your Earth. It's where you live!

23 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Congratulations to Ventura County, California for now officially recognizing May...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Taken from a 1940's Justice Society Of America comic before "Under God" was adde...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association has filed lawsuit against “Under God” in the P...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The 2014 American Atheists Conference was awesome! Check out pictures of the Ame...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone!

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Poll! http://thehumanist.com/arts_entertainment/culture/your-humanist-...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Announcing our 2014 AHA Annual Conference Keynote Speaker, Professor Max Tegmark...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Have you had this problem? The Ethical Dilemma: My Son Sends Me E-Mails Signed...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hurry! Going to the AHA annual conference in Philly? May 5th is the last day to...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Rules Are for Schmucks: Darwin Award Nominee by Luis Granados. http://thehumani...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Cartoon History of Humanism Episode Three: The Archpoet, 12th-Century Gang...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday! The January/February, 1989 issue of the Humanist magazine...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

This is creepy... http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/17/toddl...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out what the AHA staff is watching! http://thehumanist.com/arts_entertain...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here's another installment of Carl Coon’s ongoing “A Short History of Evolution”...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Five Non-Magic Words: “How Can I Help You?” Advancing the Humanist Chaplaincy h...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia C...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new affiliate, Deltona Humanist, to the American Humani...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Idaho Humanists, check out this Summer Day Camp for Kids! For more information...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out Executive Director Roy Speckhardt's new Huffpost article, Pandora's Bo...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Freedom from Religion in Kazakhstan: An Interview with Atheist Blogger Aleksand...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is A. Philip Randolph's 125th birthday. He was the American Humanist Assoc...

8 days ago