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County backs down, allows spiritual center

With a civil liberties lawsuit hanging over their head, Grayson County leaders reversed themselves and agreed this week to permit a “Peace Pentagon” spiritual center in the rural community.

The county’s board of supervisors granted a special use permit for the interfaith retreat planned by the Oracle Institute, an organization founded by former attorney Laura George of Leesburg after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

An estimated 175 citizens turned out for a June 2010 hearing on the project, many opposing the permit on religious grounds, according to the Galax Gazette.

The Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute filed suit on behalf of the Institute. A judge denied the county’s motion to dismiss in April.

Rutherford president John Whitehead tells the Associated Press the county board’s Tuesday vote clears the way for settlement of the lawsuit.

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