The Charleston County School District approved a policy to allow prayer at the beginning of special and regular board meetings.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District approved a policy to allow prayer at the beginning of special and regular board meetings, but the passing didn’t come without concerns.
In accordance with South Carolina law - the Charleston County School District voted Monday that board members may volunteer to open board meetings with a prayer.
Board member Ed Kelley was for the vote.
“It brings the policy in line with what the current practice was or the previous practice was with the previous board, where Rev. Mackwood occasionally opened up board meetings with a prayer for someone in the district or a teacher or student who had passed or for the board members before making decisions, things like that,” Kelley said.
Dr. Carol Tempel, Board of Trustees, shared her thoughts about the policy prior to the board’s official vote.
She says she feels the setting is not appropriate.
“It’s founded in the principles that I believe in. One in the separation of church and state, and I thought that this policy was unnecessary because as individuals we can pray wherever we want to pray,” Tempel said.
Kelley argues the policy is inclusive and doesn’t focus on one denomination.
“We’re not invoking a particular religion, it’s not in the name of God or in the name of Buddha. The state law requires very specific, nonsectarian parameters around the invocation, and this is very standard,” Kelley said.
Tempel doesn’t fully agree.
“Mentions God. Mentions almighty God, but there are religions that wouldn’t recognize those terms. So, I don’t think it’s as inclusive as we might think it is. And I’ve seen figures where 32% of the people in the Charleston area are not religious. So, I think that we just needed to honor the diversity and the pluralism in our community,” Tempel said.
The final 5-4.
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