S. Ind. commissioners return prayer to meetings

FILE - Photo shows a woman praying. (AP File Photo/Steve Helber)
FILE - Photo shows a woman praying. (AP File Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana county’s commissioners returned prayer to meetings following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling affirming local governments’ right to do so in official proceedings.

The Daviess County Commissioners unanimously approved a four-paragraph resolution this week declaring that citizens can offer a prayer at the beginning of the county’s public meetings.

Commissioner Larry Wilson called the resolution “very appropriate” in light of the high court’s narrow May 5 ruling that upheld decidedly Christian prayers said at the start of local council meetings in Greece, New York. The court declared such prayers are in line with long national traditions, even though the country has grown more religiously diverse.

The Rev. Christopher Wiles of the Church of Christ on Monday offered the first prayer for a Daviess County meeting in decades, The Washington Times-Herald reported.

The commissioners had asked Wiles to pray to provide them with guidance, and his prayer asked God to give the commissioners “the wisdom of Solomon.”

“People need God … and it is good to see the separation of church and state breaking down,” Wiles said during his prayer in the county seat of Washington, about 50 miles northeast of Evansville.

County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber said the opportunity to offer a prayer will be open to anyone of any faith — Muslims, Buddhists, pagans or other religions.

“I don’t think we’ll have that, but that is the chance you take with this resolution, Wilson said.

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