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Carroll Co. residents sue over prayers at county meetings

WESTMINSTER — Two Carroll County residents are suing to stop prayers to Jesus Christ before meetings of the Board of Commissioners.

The two residents say they filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore claiming the sectarian prayers are unconstitutional.

Plaintiff Neil Ridgely of Finksburg told the Carroll County Times he filed suit along with Bruce Hake of Union Bridge. Ridgely said he believes commissioners should be able to open meetings with a prayer, but it should encompass all faiths.

The suit claims commissioners gave prayers on at least 54 occasions in 2011 and 2012 that included references to Jesus, the savior and the Lord’s Prayer.

Commissioner Haven Shoemaker says the board is aware of the suit, but has not met with the county’s attorney yet to discuss the suit.