‘Amen’ stays a part of Brown County board meetings
Wednesday’s Brown County Board of Supervisors meeting started the same way it has for decades: with an invocation, or prayer. After discussion, the board voted to keep that play in practice.
The board took up a proposal to eliminate the invocation, replacing it with a moment of reflection.
Easily one of the most contentious items on the agenda, some supervisors say the invocation is exclusive to Christianity, and doesn’t take account for other types of religions.
Those supervisors were hoping to replace the invocation, or prayer, with a moment of reflection instead.
Members of the community came forward with their opinions, but the meeting really started to heat up when board members took up the topic. Several times the chairman actually smacked his gavel to call order, and some supervisors walked out of the meeting.
That’s because the board was split with their opinions.
“We talk about the troops, we talked about all sorts of things. That's nice,” says Supervisor Patrick Evans. “It can really be a nice beginning to the meeting, and you know what, I really appreciate that we have an invocation. I don't have a problem, certainly don't have a problem with the word God.”
Evans argues that the words “God” and “amen” are rooted in Brown County heritage.
On the other side of the aisle, Supervisor Mark Becker says a moment of reflection isn’t anti-prayer or anti-God, but instead inclusive for everyone.
“When we have people on this board that don't bow their heads and pray to ‘Dear Lord,’ then we shouldn't be doing it either,” Becker says. “As the dynamics of our communities change, so must our government. That's what this is about.”
A motion, essentially to table an ordinance that would chance the invocation, passed 17 to 9 – meaning an invocation will continue to open all county board meetings.