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Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671



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Monday, March 25, 2013

Pickens School Board Votes Against Constituent Majority On Prayer Issue

About 100 Pickens County residents came to Monday night's Pickens County School Board meeting to make their final plea to the board to keep unfettered prayer at the beginning of its school board meetings.

"The point I'm trying to make tonight is we are giving up without a fight," said Junius Smith of Conservatives Of The Upstate.

Several members of Conservatives Of The Upstate were at the meeting. Junius also told board members "in the Constitution, it's freedom OF not from" and "it's free exercise thereof" 

Despite pleas, the board passed a new policy on a 2nd reading 3 to 2 (Shelton, Trotter vote "NO" / Saitta, Cooper, Edwards vote "YES" / Gillespie abstained) to allow a non-sectarian based prayer.

The board came up with the new policy after the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened to sue the district over its student led prayer.

"Taking a stand like you're suggesting will be a legal defeat and it will be costly," Pickens Board member Alex Saitta said.

Someone opposing prayer has yet to show or speak at any of the meetings that have been held to discuss the matter.

Board member Jimmy Gillespie said that he's been told that he has no backbone but he's seen no one come forward and said they would put their house on the line.

The comment perplexed the audience as there's been no official litigation from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and many pastor's have committed to giving the Board financial resources and offers of pro bono attorneys if they wish to fight.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation still may sue the district that claims prayer in any form is unconstitutional.

Grant Varner, the School District's consulting attorney on the matter,  thinks the new policy would stand up in court.

Freedom From Religion Foundation is currently suing a Lexington county district over a similar school prayer issue.

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