In response to your October 8th article concerning prayer by county officials, I would encourage each of the County Commissioners NOT to adopt any formal policy on providing invocations at public meetings. Such a policy is what Hewett and his followers need to prevail because it takes it out of the realm of individual “free exercise thereof”. They are playing into his hands by doing so.
The question needs to be, “Should any elected official be free to pray in any form of their own choosing before executing their official duties or only praying in a certain manner dictated by government policy?”. That is exactly what the First Amendment was designed to afford in the former and prohibit in the latter. I see no basis or precedent for any person other than an elected official to offer an invocation at those meetings, and opening that door to outsiders is an essential step to advancing Hewett’s objections, causing only more scrutiny, complaints and legal entanglements. The Town of King already tried a lottery system for flying the Christian and other religious flags at their Veterans Memorial and even that proved to be unacceptable to Mr. Hewett, even though he initially agreed to and participated in it.
The Commissioners are being convinced that they have to somehow please all of the people all the time, and such just simply isn’t possible.
It isn’t an easy stand to take, but doing the right thing rarely is. While it is true that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, it doesn’t make a bad wheel good, only silent until the next time it screams for more grease.”
Whenever you put a limit on how far you will go to defend your Liberty, you have just stated its exact selling price. Last time, it was $500,000 which is now being used by Americans United For Separation of Church and State to attack the small town of Knoxville, Iowa over a similar memorial just as they did in King.
We did not gain our independence by concession, acquiescence and accommodation, and those paths will gain us nothing today. It is time for Stokes County to take a stand and affirm that we are, in truth, “One Nation Under God” as we were founded to be.