Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Routine prayer by Hays County Commissioners questioned

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TWC News: Routine prayer by Hays County Commissioners questioned
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The threat of a lawsuit has the Hays County Commissioners Court questioning the way they pray before each meeting.

The Washington DC-based group Americans United for Separation of Church and State has threatened litigation if the court continues its practice of having an invocation.

"We've tread on fine lines for months around this court room trying to decide how we could best protect your rights and avoid lawsuits," Hays County Judge Bert Cobb said.

Tuesday, close to 30 Hays County residents told the court they want the prayers to continue.

"It's our privilege and duty to pray on behalf of those who won't or can't, to ask God's blessings on what we're doing in this county because we need Him," one attendee said.

The group cited case law and even prayed for the court to make a decision in their favor. An emotional Cobb vowed that they would make a decision that would be upheld as constitutional.

"We're here to protect the rights of all our citizens be they atheist, Presbyterians, whatever," he said.

While Cobb said he didn't want to risk county tax dollars on potentially costly lawsuits, he was willing to be the test case on prayer if it comes to that.

"This court will continue to have an invocation come what may," he said.

The court will continue to develop a policy on how those prayers will be given. The nonprofit Liberty Institute offered to help fight any litigation at no charge to county.

Watch the video below to see Cobb’s complete statement.

TWC News: Routine prayer by Hays County Commissioners questioned
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