Commissioners hear from residents opposed to prayer - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Continuing Coverage: Hamilton Co. Commissioners hear from residents opposed to prayer

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(WRCB) - County Attorney Rheubin Taylor began Wednesday's county commission meeting with a prayer like always. 

Recently the commission has been under fire by groups like The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which says phrases like "in Jesus' name" should be eliminated from their prayers.

In past meetings, no one spoke against it, until Wednesday.

"You must acknowledge that this is not a Christian commission or a Christian government," Tommy Coleman says in front of commissioners.  

Coleman asked the commission to replace its prayer with a moment of silence. "This is not an atheist issue, this is an issue that is important for all Americans, all religions," says Coleman. "This, simply put, is a matter of good policy and there's overwhelming legal precedence for this matter."

Commissioners also heard from those in favor of prayer. June Griffin heads the Tennessee Committee for the Bill of Rights. She was clear in her message.

"Its a fact that the people of this county honor Jesus as God," says Griffin. She proposed the commission take a vote and let the residents of Hamilton County decide for themselves.

"If the people of this county vote that they don't want prayers in Jesus' name, then they will suffer the consequences," Griffin says.  

However, commissioners have already stated prayer will continue before meetings unless ordered otherwise by a court.

Coleman says he will continue to fight to replace prayer with a moment of silence.


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