MADRAS, OR -- Jefferson County Commissioners will open this week's board meeting with a Hindu prayer.
Commissioners open each meeting by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and with a prayer or blessing from a local spiritual leader. Commissioner Mike Ahern says the practice was started by fellow Commissioner Mae Huston, and all faiths are welcome, "We didn't start these public prayers until about three and an half years ago. I think the key is, when you're a public body you just have to be open to whatever, because the United States Government doesn't recognize any one religion." He tells KBND News, there are only a few Hindu in the Madras area, but the Board is open everyone. "It's open to any pastor in town, and it's just a come one - come all, and I can think of three or four of them that usually do it. So, it's always been good." The Majority of the spiritual leaders who have taken part, so far, have been of varying Christian denominations. But, Ahern says there are Buddhists and Native Americans in the area, and he hopes they will also become involved in the inter-faith exercise.
Rajan Zed, a Hindu Statesman, will recite from ancient Sanskrit scriptures and deliver a blessing at the meeting. He's the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism and has been honored with the World Interfaith Leader award.