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Prayer Case Sent To Magistrate For Mediation

Friday, October, 5, 2012

A legal case against the Pittsylvania County, Virginia Board of Supervisors over sectarian Christian prayer led by board members during public meetings has been sent to a magistrate for mediation by a federal judge. Michael Urbanski, a U.S. District Court Judge has agreed to let the board and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia make attempts to settle the dispute.

Mediation Lawyers Vaguely Discuss Details Of Case With The Media

Both sides requested that the case be handled by mediation lawyers. The ACLU is acting on behalf of Virginia resident Barbara Hudson, who originally filed a lawsuit against the board one year earlier over its routine of having group prayers that are of a specific sectarian Christian influence before public meetings.

The ACLU is stating that Hudson has suffered injury due to the Christian overtones represented during public board meetings when they hold the aforementioned prayers in that they have made Hudson feel like an unwelcomed outcast among her peers. They say that the case speaks for itself since the advocacy of any certain religious statements during government activities is clearly unconstitutional.

The board was said to have still been holding Christian prayers during meetings until a preliminary injunction was filed that ordered board members to stop praying until the mediation process is finished. ACLU Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg said that it is not the ACLU’s wish to completely ban any meditation from the board meetings, but that the inclusion of saying “amen” and calling for the bowing of heads must be stopped because it affiliates the board to Christianity in a specific manner.

Mediation Attorney Claims Case Was Filed Out Of Spite

The supervisory board’s mediation attorney, State Senator Bill Stanley, stated that it is Hudson’s personal acrimonious feelings toward the board that prompted her to take action against the board and that she has made other harsh comments about supervisors and Pittsylvania county since the case began. Stanley also claimed that Hudson has not yet stated how she has been injured by the actions of the board while Glenberg argued that there is no evidence that Hudson has not been injured. If an agreement cannot be determined through the mediation, a judge will decide the ruling.