Lincoln County commissioners drop prayer before meetings

Lincoln County meeting on Monday night (WBTV)

LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) – Lincoln County commissioners will no longer hold open prayer before their meetings. The vote came Monday night following the last open prayer before the commission meeting.

Duston Barto of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly opened the meeting with a Muslim prayer. WBTV was at the prayer, where it appeared that the county’s attorney turned his back to Barto.

Back in May, Chairman Carrol Mitchem said that there would be no prayers from a “minority religion” if he had a say. At Monday night’s meeting, Mitchem went into the room, set up his laptop and walked out before the prayer began. He returned to the room after the prayer was over.

The topic has been very controversial, especially after the legal battle in Rowan County where commissioners were told they couldn’t open their meetings with Christian only prayers.

Barto told WBTV afterward that he felt this was a win for everyone of every faith.

“It felt like a victory. It felt like you know this is not just history taking place for me, this is history taking place for my daughter, and for grandkids, and for you know anybody down the road – that now the door has been unlocked,” Barto said.

They will now have a moment of silence.

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