Mebane’s city council will turn its attention tonight (Monday, February 7) to the possibility of adopting a new prayer policy that will allow local members of the clergy to deliver the invocation at their monthly city council meetings.
The council had instructed city attorney Lawson Brown to draft a potential policy for the council’s consideration that would pass muster with a precedent set in a case from Rowan County (Lund vs. Rowan County) decided by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. The council voted unanimously to give Brown those instructions at its January meeting.
The draft version of Brown’s suggested policy, to be considered by the council tonight, can be viewed HERE.
The prayer issue arose following mayor Ed Hooks initial decision, announced in December, to eliminate the tradition of having council members deliver the invocation and replace it with a Moment of Silence.
Hooks made the decision based on input from Brown based on the threat of litigation from an anti-religious group in Wisconsin, which challenged the Mebane council’s approach to having an invocation at its meetings. Brown had advised Hooks that the council’s practice of having council members – typically either Hooks or councilman Tim Bradley – saying the prayer violated the legal standards of the Rowan County case.
Hooks’ action was taken with no prior notice, and council members ultimately decided a month later they wanted to find a way to preserve the tradition of allowing an invocation to open their meetings. Brown had outlined that allowing local clergy members to deliver an invocation would be a legal method to continue an invocation at their outset of their meetings.
The council meeting tonight begins at 6:00 p.m. in the council chambers at city hall.
See previous Alamance News coverage on the prayer issue below:
DECEMBER 2021 :
Mebane mayor scraps council’s opening prayer in face of threat from Wisconsin atheist group; will substitute ‘moment of silence’: https://alamancenews.com/mebane-mayor-scraps-councils-opening-prayer-in-face-of-threat-from-wisconsin-atheist-group-will-substitute-moment-of-silence/
EDITORIAL PAGE OPINION on scrapping prayer in Mebane, Religion ambushed in Mebane: https://alamancenews.com/religion-ambushed-in-mebane/
Mebane city council looks for a way to keep prayer at its meetings, asks attorney to draft ordinance: https://alamancenews.com/mebane-council-reverses-mayor-asks-for-new-policy-allowing-prayer-not-just-moment-of-silence/
Principles to be incorporated in new prayer policy, according to city’s attorney: https://alamancenews.com/principles-for-new-policy-on-prayer-as-recommended-by-mebane-city-attorney-lawson-brown/
OP ED: Moment of Silence is more appropriate (by Mebane city council member Patty Philipps): https://alamancenews.com/how-best-to-start-mebane-council-meetings-moment-of-silence-or-prayer-patty-philipps-with-moment-of-silence/
OP ED: Public prayer has a long, constitutionally-protected history (by Mebane resident David White): https://alamancenews.com/how-best-to-start-mebane-council-meetings-moment-of-silence-or-prayer-david-white-public-prayer-is-appropriate/