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Supreme Court upholds prayers before town meetings

4 months, 1 week ago by Bob Gough

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right of government entities across the United States to allow sectarian prayers prior to public meetings.

The court said on a 5-4 vote that the town of Greece in New York state did not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on government endorsement of religion by allowing prayers before its monthly meetings.

In a decision that is likely to guide how local governments throughout the United States handle the question, the court said that officials in Greece did not violate the law when picking prayer-givers, who were overwhelmingly Christian.

Even the plaintiffs challenging the practice in the Rochester, New York, suburb of 100,000 people, conceded that some types of nonsectarian prayers were permitted under the Constitution.

The difficulty facing the justices was how to decide how courts should consider when a prayer could violate the First Amendment, which requires the separation of church and state.

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