Roughly Speaking

In Carroll County, an emotional church-state issue divides residents

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Roughly Speaking: Newsroom Edition, episode 26:


In Carroll County, a years-old lawsuit that sought to bar the county’s commissioners from leading prayers at their meetings came to a dramatic close this month.

Originally filed by two Carroll County citizens in 2013, the lawsuit argued that the “sectarian” prayers led by the 59th Board of Commissions were unconstitutional. A judge signed a consent decree Sept. 10 after the board voted to settle, awarding $125,000 to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and effectively ending the practice at commissioners’ meetings.


Now, while some commissioners appear eager to move on from the public dispute and avoid spending additional taxpayer dollars on potential legal fees, many residents seem reluctant to make peace with the decision, staging protests and writing opinion pieces citing their disappointment with the outcome, which they suggest degrades the freedoms of religion and speech.

On this episode, Carroll County Times reporter Mary Grace Keller joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood to review of the conflict and discuss its national implications.

Episode guide:

Speakers (in order of appearance): Cathey Allison, Melissa Bowman, Nathan Mateer, Jennifer Mateer, William Sam Stansbury, Commissioner Eric Bouchat

Hear more public comment here (scroll to section XII)

Related links:

After Carroll board decides to settle prayer lawsuit, citizens protest outside county office, over phone

Maryland legislators lobby Carroll commissioners on prayer lawsuit; board to stick with decision to settle


Editorial: Commissioners right to settle prayer lawsuit

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