FRANKLIN COUNTY, MO (KMOX) – After a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union a year ago, Franklin County officials are paying close attention to a New York court case regarding the separation of church and state. Since the lawsuit Franklin County commission meetings are opened with an invocation by volunteers who sign up in advance.
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case from Greece, New York, where the town board allows citizens to offer prayers at the start of meetings, similar to Franklin County allowing volunteers to offer an invocation. Over the past 10 years, however, nearly every meeting in the New York case has opened with a prayer that stressed Christianity.
“That’s kind of similar to what they claimed that I was doing but I certainly was not doing that purposely,” says Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer.
Griesheimer says he’s waiting to see what the Supreme Court says about the similar case in New York.
“There will be a ruling by the end of the year so we’ll know where we stand,” Griesheimer says. “We’re trying to negotiatie a settlement with the ACLU but at this point we’ve been unsuccessful doing that.”