Prayers: Good or bad for public meetings?

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - While this is a common practice in our area, not everyone holds this prayer before or after a meeting.

Marion County Commission meetings typically start with a prayer from Rev. D.D. Meighen. That's the same with Fairmont City Council meetings. When it comes to prayer before these meetings, he feels there's a place for it.

"From the standpoint of hopefully invoking a sense of moral responsibility and responsibility to the community to serve others, then I think prayer is a viable force," Meighen said.

At the same time, he understands why some might feel differently about it.

"We don't impose the fact that they have to recognize it or be a part of it," he said. "They can stand apart from it. I'm aware of those beliefs."

Prayers before Harrison County Commission aren't a part of their agenda right now. Commission President Ron Watson says the reason is specifically just because nobody has brought it up yet.

"If there's some court action then we're not going to violate the law, but it's just never something that our county commission has been approached with, Watson said. "We do the pledge though. Personally I don't see anything wrong with it, but it's not something that we've done."

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV) focuses specially on the separation of church and state, nothing while they understand some might want to take part in a prayer, but it's something that should be done on the individuals time.

"Because there are countless religious and faith traditions throughout the world, it's almost impossible to give everyone air time, so it's better to just give none of them and allow that to be a matter of personal faith," said Eli Baumwell with the ACLU of West Virginia."