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Supreme Court Allows Prayers in City Council Meetings

What clergy should note about invitations to lead public prayers.

Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway, 134 S.Ct. 1811 (2014)

By a 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of opening city council meetings with prayer does not offend the United States Constitution, even though most of the persons offering prayers were Christian ministers and many of the prayers contained references to Christian doctrine. This article will review the facts of the case, and explain the Court's ruling.

Facts

Greece, a town with a population of 94,000, is in Upstate New York. For some years, it began its monthly town board meetings with a moment of silence. In 1999, the newly elected town supervisor decided to replicate the prayer practice he had found meaningful while serving in the county legislature. Following the roll call and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the town supervisor would invite a local clergyman to the front of the room to deliver ...

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Posted:
  • August 26, 2014