Rabbi begs off his turn to pray at meeting

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A Rabbi who had volunteered to offer prayer at a Hamilton County Commission meeting has postponed his participation.

Rabbi Shaul Perlstein told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he didn't want to be caught up in a lawsuit against the commission by two local men opposed to the prayers. The plaintiffs claim the prayers violate the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

County Legislative Administrator Chris Hixson said her office moved all other volunteer clergy up one spot. But the newspaper reported Mitchell Reaves of Northside Community Baptist Church was not on the list of volunteers released by the county last month.

The newspaper said Reaves concluded his prayer Thursday by invoking the name of Jesus Christ

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