The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

May 27, 2014

Commissioners bring prayer back to meetings

With a four-paragraph resolution the Daviess County Commissioners put the possibility of prayer back into their meetings. The Commissioners on Monday passed the resolution unanimously that gives "citizens an opportunity to pray at the beginning of public meetings for the county."

The move by the commissioners came in reaction to a U.S Supreme Court ruling earlier this month in the case of the Town of Greece v. Galloway that allows local governments to open meetings with prayer. "I think this is very appropriate," said Commissioner Larry Wilson who made the motion to accept the resolution. "I didn't think we would see it in my lifetime. We depend on God so much here that adding a prayer seemed like the right thing to do."

The first prayer for a county meeting in decades was offered by Church of Christ minister , Rev. Christopher Wiles. In that prayer Wiles said: "People need God...and it is good to see the separation of church and state breaking down."

The commissioners had asked that he pray for them to provide them with guidance. "I ask that the Lord provide them with wisdom, ask that you give them the wisdom of Solomon," prayed Wiles.

The Reverend Wiles had been invited to the meeting to provide the first prayer by Commissioner Wilson and County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber, but the opportunity to offer up prayer under the new resolution will be open to any citizen. "This allows for prayer, but the content of it will be off limits," said Swartzentruber.

That means that a citizen requesting a prayer for any religion will have the opportunity to offer it to open the meeting. Muslims, Buddhists, pagans, or those belonging to other religions could also be asking for a spot in line to pray before county meetings. "I don't think we'll have that," said Wilson, "but that is the chance you take with this resolution."

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