The Supreme Court Decision Monday morning in favor of allowing prayer before government meetings, even if that prayer is Christian, may have effects on future board meetings in Pittsylvania County.
"It definitely helped our case, no doubt about it. The Supreme Court backed up what we had said all along that we wasn't violating the Constitution and separation of church and state, so we were very pleased with the outcome," said Tim Barber, a mechanic in Brosville. He's optimistic about once again having prayer during supervisors' meetings.
"We knew this was a game changer," Barber said.
He was the chairman in 2011 when the American Civil Liberties Union represented Barbara Hudson in suing the board for praying a Christian prayer before every board meeting.
Last year a federal judge issued an injunction, permanently barring the board from saying a sectarian prayer. The case is now being appealed.
Monday's ruling on the town council in Greece, New York isn't the outcome Rebecca Glenberg from the ACLU predicted.
"When a government body opens its meetings with prayers that instantly represent only one religious viewpoint it has the effect of dividing the citizenry along religious lines," Glenberg said.
Glenberg says the differences between the two cases may matter in Pittsylvania County.
In Greece, New York, prayers were given by religious leaders in the town, while in Pittsylvania County board members have prayer.
"I feel like we can use this as leverage to get our case dismissed and go back to praying in Pittsylvania County," Barber said.
Pittsylvania County board members are now talking with their attorney, Bill Stanley. Their case is headed to the U-S Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.