Local Reaction To High Court's Prayer Decision

Local officials sound off over the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold prayer at the start of government meetings.

"I don't have a problem with starting our meetings with prayer."

Local officials sound off over the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold prayer at the start of government meetings. The ruling comes after two women in the town of Greece, New York sued town officials over invocations at public government meetings. The justices did not rule in their favor.

This nation wide decision plays a local impact. The justices did not define how communities should handle civic prayer, but city commissioners in Henderson, Kentucky say they have a system in place that keeps prayer welcome.

"I'd like to ask that prayer before these meetings, be stricken from the agenda." In the ongoing battle over separation of church and state, today it's the church gaining some ground. The Supreme Court rules to uphold prayer in government meetings.

This is an issue that's come up locally. In 2012 some students requested the Muhlenberg County School Board refrain from prayer. "A board such as yourself is in violation of the establishment clause of the United States of America," says a student. Prayer continues at Muhlenberg County School Board meetings.

Prayer also opens every Henderson County Commissioner's meeting. Robby Mills says in his fourteen years as a commissioner, faith is a part of his public life. "It's a great way to take a deep breath and say, here we go. We are going to take care of the people's business. Let's give it to God and do what we are supposed to do, what we are elected to do," says Mills.

The five supporting justices are Catholic, and agreed opening prayer brings a town together. "Unity is sometimes precious amongst elected officials. I think it's a time that kind of bring us together," says Mills.

While predominantly Christian, the prayer ritual is open to any faith in Henderson. The person who wants to lead it, just needs to arrange the prayer with the City Clerk. So far, Mills says he hasn't heard of any complaints. "A citizen has never stopped me and said hey, I'm offended by your prayer. I really don't think its an issue."

Henderson Commissioner, Jan Hite, says she is in favor of the Supreme Court's decision as well.

 

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