"God resolution" to be discussed by commissioners

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff

The Dec. 8 meeting of the Carter County Commission will not likely be as exciting as the Oct. 20 meeting when county-wide zoning was passed, but one commissioner is planning on bringing up an item for discussion among the county court.
   Commissioner Tom "Yogi" Bowers plans to ask for a resolution, at the 7 p.m. meeting, similar to the one passed in Greene County that many people are referring to as the "God resolution." It is a proclamation supporting the recognition of God as the foundation of our national heritage.
   Greene County passed the initial resolution stating, "Our Government was founded upon a trust in God, that began when our Founding Fathers proclaimed in America's first official document, our Declaration of Independence, that our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, were not given to us by government, but by God "our Creator," the Sovereign Judge of the Universe."
   Bowers wants Carter County to approve this same resolution, but a 1988 lawsuit settlement might prevent the county from doing so.
   In 1987, a lawsuit was filed against the county and the county Board of Education because some parents felt the school system was violating First Amendment rights because students were attending Bible classes on school grounds.
   A permanent injunction was ordered against the county and the school system by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hull prohibiting them from religious activities on public school property during school hours.
   County Mayor Dale Fair said he welcomed the discussion of the resolution, but he said the County Attorney George Dugger plans on advising the commissioners that it would not be wise not to discuss it.
   Fair added that if the resolution did come to a vote, "I think it would pass overwhelmingly."
   Bowers said he believed the permanent injunction "is directed to school property and school hours. This has nothing to do with schools."
   He does not approve of the county standing around and watching what the rest of the state of Tennessee does in reaction to Greene County's passing of the resolution.
   "A lot of people stood on the sidelines when someone was nailed to the cross over 2,000 years ago. We need an attorney who is not afraid to play in the game instead of sitting on the sidelines," Bowers said.
   "I would rather go ahead and do what is right and if there is law that says I am wrong, we can redo it," he added.
   In other business, the commissioners will sift through a 21-item agenda, which includes a presentation of the third stage of the jail study by Barge, Waggoner, Sumner & Cannon.