Brunswick commissioners may take prayer off agenda - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Brunswick commissioners may take prayer off agenda

By Kristy Ondo - bio |email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The bells of change are ringing in Brunswick County.

Commissioners are considering ending an age-old practice of opening their meetings with prayer.

"As elected officials we represent all the people in the county, so just to have Christian prayer would in turn, turn off some of the people that come to the meetings," said Commissioner Charles Warren.

That's why Warren is in favor of trading the prayer for a moment of silence.

"Give each individual the opportunity to pray in their own belief if they so desire," said Warren.

However, many in the county, including Pastor Jay Merritt of Trinity Church in Leland, believe prayer needs to stay.

"The moment of silence is really good for memorials when we're recognizing someone who has passed away or those honored dead, but my God isn't dead and I'm going to continue to pray to Him out loud," said Merritt.

WECT asked for viewers' opinions on facebook, and dozens of people spoke up.

"I applaud Mr. Warren for recognizing that not everyone is a Christian and also for having the courage to say something about it," posted Amanda.

"I guess I just don't want to live in a county that has outgrown God," posted Mary Rose.

The vast majority of people who commented seemed alarmed at the idea of losing the prayer before meetings.

"It gets, to me, where the tail begins wagging the dog, where the minority speak out so we as believers in a living God need to speak out and really make our ideas known," said Merritt.

As commissioners continue to discuss the best way to handle the sensitive subject, it's a certainty that more and more people will be chiming in.

The county commissioners are planning to talk about the issue at their regular meeting on Monday night.  However, Monday's agenda already has a "moment of silence" listed instead of the usual "invocation." 

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