New Prayer Policy Follows Lawsuit

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Members of the Hamilton County Commission have approved a new policy on prayer, indicating the intent to continue allowing public prayer at meetings.
Two local men have filed a federal lawsuit and asked for an injunction to prevent the commission from letting people pray out loud as meetings begin. A hearing is scheduled for July 26 on the injunction request.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press ( ) reported commission members on Tuesday unanimously approved a policy that calls for creation of a countywide clergy database from which speakers will be invited to lead what commissioners termed a “prayer, reflective moment of silence, or a short solemnizing message,” at each weekly commission meeting.
The men filing the lawsuit have asked the commission to hold a moment of silence, rather than the Christian prayers.
Commissioners said the new policy should allow for diversity of opinion and belief.
However, plaintiff Tommy Coleman says the new policy “is pure propaganda.”

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