Citing the Forsyth County case, the Buncombe County Commission will no longer precede its meetings with an official prayer, opting for a moment of silence instead.
The board's attorney said in a statement, "On November 9, 2009 a magistrate judge with the US District Court for the Middle District of NC issued a recommendation of judgment against Forsyth County as the practice violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution .... The Forsyth case is based on facts establishing that out of 33 invocations prior to meetings only 7 did not contain some reference to Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Savior, or the Trinity, and none of those 33 invocations invoked another deity associated with any faith other than Christianity. Such statistics are no doubt common here in the Bible Belt and I believe are also fairly representative of such a sampling before our Board."
To be legal prayers before the opening of a government body must be non-sectarian in nature and not endorse one faith or denomination over another.
Naturally, such a decision, even in Asheville, could be guaranteed to invite the raining down of hellfire, starting with the recently defeated right-wing former town councilman Carl Mumpower and local conservative "activist" Don Yelton, who said, modestly and with hardly any hyperbole, "I am reminded of what some [Jewish] friends told me, they did not know how fast it could happen. Hitler. We are knocking on the doors of hell right now. Please get your pastors to get awake and take a stand."