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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Religious Liberty

SALISBURY, N.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) filed a federal lawsuit yesterday on behalf of three Rowan County citizens, demanding that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners stop its unconstitutional practice of opening government meetings with prayers that are specific to one religion.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, details how more than 97 percent of board meetings since 2007 have been opened with prayers specific to one religion, Christianity.

“I want my local government to be open and welcoming to people of all beliefs,” said Nan Lund, a Salisbury resident who is one of three plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. “But when officials begin a public meeting with prayers that are specific to only one religious viewpoint, I feel unwelcome and excluded.”

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More than 200 people attended the ACLU-NC's 44th Annual Frank Porter Graham Awards at the William and Ida Friday Center in Chapel Hill on Saturday, February 16. The annual event, named after the former University of North Carolina president and U.S. senator, is an opportunity to recognize exemplary civil rights leaders throughout the state for their work on various civil liberties issues.

You can see photos of the event and read about each of our award recipients below:

Keynote speaker:
Jimmy Creech

Author and LGBT and human rights activist

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ACLU-NC Executive Director Jennifer Rudinger wrote an op-ed in the Dec. 13 edition of the Charlotte Observer tackling the challenging constitutional questions surrounding a recent controversy in which McDowell County school officials deleted the word "God" from a 6-year-old student's poem.

Read the entire op-ed here.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) sent a letter last week to John W. Smith, director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), expressing concern about a recent complaint from a man who reported that he was prohibited from wearing religious attire in a Lenoir County courtroom. According to the complaint, the man was ejected from the Lenoir County courthouse on March 22 when he refused to remove his kufi – a knitted skull cap commonly worn by Muslim men.

In the letter, the ACLU-NCLF explains that, if true, the incident violated the man’s constitutional right to freely exercise his religion, and the organization asks AOC to provide public records of all written policies related to protecting the First Amendment religious rights of litigants, witnesses, and observers in North Carolina courts.

“This individual was forced to choose between his right to access the courts and the practice of his religious beliefs,” Chris Brook, Legal Director for the ACLU-NCLF, wrote in the letter.

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