MELBOURNE, Fla. – A federal judge has barred a Florida county commission from opening its meetings with prayers.
A Florida Today report says U.S. District Judge John Antoon II said opening Brevard County commission meetings with religious invocations violated both the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution.
County commissioners voted unanimously to appeal the Nov. 29 injunction. While that's pending, they are opening meetings with a moment of silence instead of prayer.
The Central Florida Freethought Community, the Humanist Community of the Space Coast and the Space Coast Freethought Association sued the county in federal court in 2015 after commissioners declined to include atheists, agnostics and other non-religious people in a rotation of clergy members delivering the opening religious invocations.
Commission Chair Rita Pritchett said Antoon's ruling "takes away the freedom of speech of the Christian community."
Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com