Prayerful Consideration in Knox County

The Knox County Commission on Monday will look at adopting a written policy regarding prayer before board meetings, a move officials hope will protect them against lawsuits, like the one recently filed in Chattanooga.
From the News Sentinel:
Commission Chairman Mike Hammond said he will add the resolution to Monday’s agenda. He said it’s in response to a June 15 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court against the Hamilton County Commission.
(Note: Previous post HERE)
“Right after I became chair two years ago, I had a meeting with a group of individuals who asked me if I would consider having a moment of silence instead of regular prayer. I told them no,” Hammond said. “Then I saw this thing out of Chattanooga and I felt it may be worthwhile for us to look at it and make sure we’re compliant with the law. We need to establish some guidelines.”
The commissioner said he doesn’t want a moment of silence, which is what the Knox County Board of Education does, because he feels like prayer before meetings “is a part of the history of our country and I feel like we need to carry on the tradition.”
…Knox County Law Director Joe Jarret, whose office crafted a resolution at Hammond’s request, said Hamilton County doesn’t have a “coherent, consistent policy … where invocations are concerned,” which is the primary issue.
“Our courts permit such invocation during public meetings, albeit, they seem to favor those entities that have a written, consistent, non-exclusive policy,” he said. “The Knox County Commission’s current policy is, in my legal opinion, legal and inclusive (although) I would be a lot more comfortable were their practices reduced to writing and formally adopted by the County Commission.”
The resolution that the commission will discuss on Monday includes a number of details on how the board will pray. An invocation will be listed on the agenda but no one on the commission or in attendance will be required to participate.
The commissioner who leads the prayer will also do so “in his or her capacity as a private citizen.”

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