Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 14, 2012

Roanoke Co. board revises pre-meeting invocation

Associated Press

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Roanoke County's Board of Supervisors has revised a longstanding practice of opening meetings with an invocation following a complaint that it was unconstitutional.

Media outlets report that a policy approved Tuesday by the board still allows invocations but they will be nonsectarian. Invocations can include prayer, a moment of silence or a short solemnizing message.

County Attorney Paul Mahoney says the goal is to provide an opportunity for pre-meeting invocations. But the policy is neutral and won't favor one religion over another.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a formal complaint about the invocation to the board earlier this year. The Wisconsin-based group asked the board to stop the practice or at least end sectarian prayer at meetings.