Supreme Court rules on prayer in town hall meetings

Supreme Court rules on prayer in town hall meetings.

If you've ever attended a city commission or city council meeting here in southwest Georgia, you know prayer is usually the first item on the agenda.

Prayer in public meetings went before the Supreme Court 30 years ago and it was revisited again Monday.

Five Supreme Court justices voted that prayer before a public meeting is constitutional.

About a year ago, Rev. Ernest Davis Jr. opened Albany TMs City Commission meeting with a prayer.

He's just one of hundreds who've given spiritual words at a public meeting.

We entrust our elected officials with the welfare of our community and if anyone needs wisdom and guidance and direction I think those individuals certainly need it, said Rev. Earnest Davis Jr., Bethel A.M.E. Church.

In the court case of town of Greece, New York v. Galloway, two women argued that prayer in town hall meetings was unconstitutional.

Local leaders say it is tradition.

Even while our Constitution was being framed during the First Constitutional Convention it was Benjamin Franklin who first called for prayer before that session met, said Greg Frich, Lee County Commissioner.

Albany Commissioner Roger Marietta says he hasn TMt had anyone express opposition while he was around.

I've been associated with local government for 30 years and I TMve never heard anybody complain about it. People in the audience have made up their minds about what they're going to pray or if they're going to pray, said Roger Marietta, Albany Commissioner.

Marietta adds the prayer session helps clear his head before the meeting.