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Judge orders halt to prayers at Rowan meetings

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - A federal court judge has issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Rowan County commissioners to halt their practice of opening government meetings with a prayer specific to one group.

The ruling was issued Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court in Greensboro.

The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Rowan County residents demanding that the board of commissioners stop its practice of opening government meetings with prayers that were specific to one religion.

The organization accused the board of violating the First Amendment provision ordaining the separation of church and state by routinely praying to Jesus Christ to start its meetings.

In March, the commissioners opened their meeting with a prayer just one week after the ACLU filed its lawsuit.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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