Court ruling on prayer means county practice can continue

first_imgThe Board of Clark County Commissioners won’t have to stop praying before public meetings thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court decision.The high court’s 5-4 decision Monday upheld a local government’s authority to start public meetings with a prayer. That’s divine news for the board of commissioners, where religious invocations have commonly kicked off meetings since March 2013.Republican Commissioner David Madore lauded the court’s decision in a post on Facebook.“We need God’s help and wisdom and we ought to thank Him for His help, blessings and protection,” Madore wrote.He directed people to read the court’s majority opinion, saying it was very clear about praying in Jesus’ name.The board is the only local governing body that regularly starts meetings with a prayer. Republican Commissioner Tom Mielke introduced the idea in March 2013 and, at the time, said he wanted to invite a diverse collection of religious leaders to participate.The city of Washougal also briefly discussed the idea last year, but it didn’t go beyond the public discussion stage.Not all of the county’s invocations have been strictly Christian. Prayers have come from a Baha’i chairperson, a Messianic Jewish pastor, a Jewish rabbi and others.The Supreme Court’s decision likely won’t change how meetings begin in Clark County’s largest city.Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt said he’s never been approached by a member of the public or the council about adding prayer to the weekly meeting agenda. City officials don’t make a point of avoiding saying prayers while in their official capacity, he said. For example, last week the city hosted a National Day of Prayer event.But if the idea of a pre-meeting prayer was broached, Leavitt said he wouldn’t support it.last_img

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