In May of 2013, the Rockingham County Board of Education (in North Carolina) debated whether or not to pray at meetings instead of sticking to a moment of silence.
One board member, Leonard Pryor, was so appalled prayer might even be considered that he resigned in protest, presumably before any lawsuits came the board’s way:
Weeks later, after plenty of discussion, the board correctly voted 7-3 against the prayers:
“We were elected to serve the students of Rockingham County,” said board member Amanda Bell, who voted against the motion. “We were not elected to serve ourselves.”
Chairwoman Nell Rose, Vice Chairman Hal Griffin, as well as board members Wayne Kirkman, Elaine McCollum, Lorie McKinney and Bob Wyatt also voted against it.
I felt it was a smart move on the board’s part. Getting down to business would allow them to focus on doing what’s best for students instead of waste time appeasing Christians who think all government meetings ought to be like church services.
It’s been more than a year since all of that transpired and it appears that community members aren’t letting it go. Already, on the first day they could, five challengers filed paperwork to run for seats in the upcoming school board elections. (While Pryor’s seat is still vacant, two of the other four seats are currently held by board members who voted against the prayers.)
Prayer has still been a major source of controversy over the past year, and it may be a reason more people than usual want to oust some of the incumbents:
Many local pastors have attended board meetings and led participants in prayer during public comments.
That led to friction between [Board Member Ron] Price and board member Amanda Bell, whom he later accused of being un-Christian. Bell said the statement was baseless, and she just wanted him to honor the board’s decision.
People can file to run for the board through July 18, before the November elections.
(Portions of this article were posted earlier. Thanks to Brian for the link)