CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -- Both parties in a federal lawsuit over prayer at Hamilton County Commission meetings claim the First Amendment is on their side.

In the six weeks since Brandon Jones and Tommy Coleman sued Hamilton County over the commission's regular Christian prayers during meetings, the county courthouse has drawn dozens of people expressing their thoughts and emotions through silent protest, prayer, public comment and, occasionally, verbal confrontation.

Still, at its core, the dispute is a legal struggle between two parties over two clauses in the first 16 of 45 words in an amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed by Congress in 1789 and ratified by the states in 1791.


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