DANVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Right off the bat, the judge-executive laid some ground rules for the debate over prayer.
“You make a personal attack…I’m going to have these gentlemen (deputies) escort you out,” Harold McKinney told the crowd gathered for Tuesday morning’s Boyle Co. Fiscal Court meeting.
No one attacked anyone….but a comment that drew an "amen" from one side….drew an order to stop.
“You’re welcome to sit,” McKinney told the man as get got up to leave.
“This body belongs to the devil,” said the man as he left the meeting.
“We’re not having that,” McKinney responded.
Outbursts aside….the rest of the meeting was civil….with some simply stating the power of prayer should not be denied..even at government meetings.
“Our nation is based on Christian principles. A privilege to continue the practice in place by our forefathers,” said a prayer supporter.
“I’d like to say…this is not an attack on Christians. This is asking for equality and respect for all,” countered a man against the prayer at county government meetings.
The county attorney advised magistrates to avoid specific names or religions when praying. For example he told them to avoid saying “Jesus” or “Christ.”
“If you’re going to pray, you need to pray in Jesus name. If you’re going to reach our heavenly Father,” said Polly Evans, one of several who attended the meeting in support of prayer.
The court stopped praying when a citizen threatened to sue and the judge executive said the county’s insurance police would not support a legal challenge. Magistrates unanimously agreed to reinstate prayers after hearing from both sides Tuesday.
“We’re not shooting at people. What we are doing to democracy in action. And I think Congress should take some lessons from us,” said McKinney.
The prayer will show up as one of the first agenda items in future meetings.