Knox County Commission passes resolution endorsing God as foundation
KNOXVILLE (AP) — The Knox County Commission has passed a resolution asking people to urge politicians to recognize God as the “foundation of our National Heritage.”
The resolution passed 8-3 on Monday night, though eight of the commission’s seats are vacant because a judge ruled they were filled unlawfully.
“The people of faith are strong,” said Commissioner Mark Harmon, who voted against the resolution. “They do not need any guidance from the Knox County Commission.”
Harmon’s request for a vote of the resolution be indefinitely postponed was shot down by his colleagues.
Supporters of the resolution said they felt it sent an appropriate message.
“Religion is such a very personal thing to all of us,” Commissioner Mike Hammond said. “To vote against this would give the impression to some that we don’t care about our faith.”
Resolution co-sponsor Ivan Harmon added, “If any of you have got money you don’t want, the back of it says, ’In God We Trust.”’
Knox County commissioners have introduced similar resolutions in the past, but each had been shelved after generating significant debate.
Ivan Harmon also had a similarly worded resolution introduced under his name in February 2006, but had the measure withdrawn from consideration because it wasn’t his work and felt someone was trying to play a joke.
Commissioner Thomas Strickland said he’s voted against resolutions endorsing God three times because he did not feel the measure upheld a separation of church and state.
The panel’s ranks were thinned after a judge in October voided the appointments of eight commissioners and four other county offices, which he said were filled after private dealmaking violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.
Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com
Published in The Messenger 12.19.07