Thomasville, N.C. city council stands up to the ACLU, votes to adopt ADF-drafted invocations policy

6-1 vote by council members rebuffs latest challenge by ACLU against public invocations
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

THOMASVILLE, N.C. — City council members in Thomasville voted 6-1 Monday night to adopt a policy drafted by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys that will allow for the continuation of public invocations at council meetings despite threats from the American Civil Liberties Union.

“It’s amazing that, in a country founded on religious liberty, the right to open a public meeting with a prayer would be under attack,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson.  “But that is exactly what the ACLU has been doing the past several months--using its familiar tactics of fear, intimidation, and disinformation to force municipalities into passive compliance with its agenda to eliminate our First Liberty, religious freedom.”

The ACLU had contacted Thomasville city council members, as it has done in numerous other towns and counties, demanding that they immediately halt the practice of opening each meeting with a prayer of the giver’s choosing.  Johnson provided the council with a proposed policy that would allow the prayers to continue in compliance with the U.S. Constitution.

Assistance was also provided by ADF-allied attorney Jere Royall, director of community impact for the North Carolina Family Policy Council.  City councilman Dwight Cornelison presented the resolution to adopt the prayer policy.

“This is a freedom of speech issue, pure and simple,” said Cornelison.  “It’s our hope that other municipalities will stand up to the ACLU’s threats and realize that when the ACLU comes calling, their constitutional rights are under attack.”

A copy of Johnson’s letter to the Thomasville City Council can be read here. A copy of the adopted policy can be read here.

“We believe that this policy will be a constitutionally sound basis to protect and preserve the long-established American tradition of opening public meetings with prayer,” said Johnson.  “ADF and its allies will continue to offer assistance to any municipality which finds itself under attack from the ACLU for simply continuing a practice that the Supreme Court knows is ‘deeply embedded in the history and tradition of our country.”

Thomasville is the second municipality in the past week that has voted to adopt an ADF model invocations policy and resist the demands of the ACLU.  On March 12, the city council of Coatesville, Pa., took the same action by unanimous vote.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. 

www.telladf.org