El Paso County commissioners will include prayer in their meetings starting next week. Newly elected commissioner Peggy Littleton suggested the idea when she was sworn in Tuesday.
-- From "Prayer At County Meetings Stirs Up Debate" by Patti Moon, KRDO TV-13 Colorado Springs 1/13/11
"I think it's important to put God first, country second and then others after that and in that order because I do think it makes a difference in the way that we serve and in how we affect lives," said Littleton.
The commissioner pointed out that her colleagues unanimously support the idea. She said the prayers will be delivered by pastors, community leaders and everyday residents.
Public opinion on the idea, however, is mixed. Supporters said prayer is a way to overcome political divisiveness while opponents said those who are not religious would feel alienated.
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From "'God first,' new commissioner says, urging prayer at all meetings" by Debbie Kelley, Colorado Springs Gazette 1/12/11
Because Littleton’s appeal was not a policy item, informal agreement by at least three commissioners propelled it into motion. And because the commission chair has authority over agendas, it’s a done deal.
New commission chairwoman Amy Lathen said Wednesday that she got the support needed, and likely starting next week, every Tuesday and Thursday meeting will include prayer.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1980s ruled that legislative bodies can start sessions with prayer without violating the U.S. Constitution. The Colorado Springs City Council, the state Legislature and other elected groups routinely pray or have moments of silence before meetings.
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