Friday, September 26, 2008

Prayer Opening Public Meeting Constitutional Challenge Awaits

should the local board approve a plan to reinstate formal opening prayers at the beginning of commissioners meetings, shouldn't there be a legal challenge awaiting the action?

What would happen if a non-believer objects to any prayer at the beginning of the meeting, and voices that concern? They'd likely be evicted and charged with public disturbance.

It is testing the constitutional limits currently by having a "silent" prayer prior to the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America.

In other words, officials are endorsing religion and a particular religious practice stepping on the right of individuals to choose no religion or no religious practice.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. It doesn't guarantee the access to use a religious practice - prayers - at publicly held meetings.

Net the Truth Online

County commissioners reconsider opening prayer
By Mary Pickels
Friday, September 26, 2008

Fayette County commissioners might reinstate the practice of holding an opening prayer before public meetings instead of the silent prayer.

The Rev. Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Uniontown, said he would be willing to coordinate the speakers and provide guidelines, including length of prayer and tailoring of words specifically to the board members and their governing of the county.

He said the opportunity to pray at the meetings would be open to any clergy.

Previously, a rotating roster of clergy offered prayers to open the meetings, Commissioner Vincent Vicites said.

"It worked well," he said.

The practice changed over time as the composition of the board changed, he said.

"I felt very strongly about opening prayer," Vicites said. "I thought that was a good way to start our meetings."

Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky said he had no problem discussing a proposal to develop a plan for review...

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