Federal Judge Won't Issue Temporary Halt To Prayer

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A judge says officials in Chattanooga, Tenn., can continue opening their meetings with prayer for now.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that federal Judge Sandy Mattice declined to stop the Hamilton County Commission's prayers before meetings while a lawsuit works its way through the system.

Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones filed suit in June after commissioners refused their request to hold a moment of silence instead of prayers. They claim the prayers promote Christianity in violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.

After the suit was filed, the commission adopted a new policy under which ministers from all different faiths will be asked to offer prayers.

The plaintiffs call that policy a sham and say they plan to appeal Mattice's ruling.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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