Lawsuit Filed Against Prayer at County Commission Meetings

Two Hamilton County residents sued county commissioners and County Attorney Rheubin Taylor in federal court today for prayers the body holds before its meetings, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
The complaint, filed by Attorney Robin Flores on behalf of Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, argues that the prayers violate rights guaranteed by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
In May, Patrick Elliott, an attorney with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a letter to commissioners, asking them to discontinue prayers before meetings, citing the regular use of “in Jesus’ name” to conclude official prayers.
Commissioners have taken no official action to consider the letter or change their practice.
Taylor last week said he’d reviewed the letter and would advise commissioners at the appropriate time. The following day, he personally led the prayer, closing with a similar invocation of Christ

Note: The practice of opening meetings with prayer, of course, is widespread among Tennessee political bodies — the rule rather than the exception. The state House and Senate, for example, have a “minister of the day” who opens each session with a prayer.

2 thoughts on “Lawsuit Filed Against Prayer at County Commission Meetings

  1. Eric Holcombe

    Amendment 1 to the U.S. Constitution:
    County Commission shall make no prayer respecting an acknowledgement of religion, but instead shall prohibit the free exercise thereof;
    There. Now that lawsuit has some merit…

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