Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Prayer causes a stir elsewhere

I was reminded of Fredericksburg’s lawsuit over prayer at public meetings yet again today while reading my hometown paper.

In Yadkinville, N.C., more than 2,500 people took to the streets yesterday to protest a prayer policy very similar to the one that Fredericksburg’s City Council adopted to avoid a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to The Winston-Salem Journal (their story on the rally is here), Yadkinville, like Fredericksburg, nixed using Jesus’ name at meetings specifically to avoid a lawsuit. Meanwhile, neighbor Forsyth County now faces a lawsuit from the ACLU because it changed its policy to allow sectarian prayer at meetings.

We have yet to see what will happen with Councilman Hashmel Turner’s appeal of the Fredericksburg lawsuit. His charge that the nonsectarian prayer policy infringed upon his free speech rights was rejected at the federal district court level. But it’s clear that the issue of how you can pray at a government event continues to spark people’s emotions.