Md. county will comply with judge's prayer order

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Local,Maryland

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) — The Carroll County Commissioners say they'll reluctantly obey a federal judge's order barring them from starting their public meetings with sectarian prayers.

The five-member, all-Republican board voted 3-2 Tuesday to use only nonsectarian prayers to open their meetings — for now. The resolution runs through Aug. 1, when the board says it hopes the Supreme Court will have ruled on a similar dispute in New York state.

Some commissioners have routinely prayed to Jesus Christ when it was their turn to ask for divine guidance over board proceedings.

A U.S. district judge in Baltimore issued a preliminary injunction March 25, prohibiting sectarian prayers at board meetings. One of the commissioners willfully violated the order two days later. The plaintiffs in their federal court dispute have asked for a contempt finding.

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