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Charlotte City Council Meeting Begins Without Traditional Opening Prayer

A long-running tradition was missing from the beginning of last night’s Charlotte City Council meeting:  an opening prayer.  As the meeting started, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said:

"We are not going to have an invocation this evening. We are going to change the way that we conduct it, on the expert advice of our attorney, with the concern over freedom of religion and separation of church and state and some other recent court rulings."

Earlier this year, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Rowan County commissioners couldn’t open meetings with prayer representing primarily one faith.  Since that decision, according to the Charlotte Observer, City Attorney Bob Hagemann has been reviewing the case and Mayor Roberts has questioned opening city council meetings with prayer.     Hagemann declined to comment on the issue last night.