2020_wmot_website_header.png
WMOT 89.5 | LISTENER-POWERED RADIO INDEPENDENT AMERICAN ROOTS
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

Federal judge: Hamilton County prayer policy constitutional

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Hamilton County may continue asking local clergy to deliver prayers before commission meetings.

A Wednesday ruling by U.S. District Judge Sandy Mattice cited U.S. Supreme Court decisions that prayers offered before the meetings of legislative bodies are constitutional. Mattice said the prayers cannot be used as a pretext to promote one faith over another, but they may favor religion over non-religion.

He rejected claims by two Chattanooga men that the prayers at Hamilton County Commission meetings improperly promoted Christianity. Mattice noted that Jewish and Unitarian Universalist clergy have been among those chosen to give invocations.

However, the judge ruled that one plaintiff, Thomas Coleman, could move forward with a claim that he was illegally removed from a county commission meeting. Mattice ordered that claim to go to trial.