The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit the issue of church-state separation and decide whether a town council can begin most of its monthly meetings with a prayer from a Christian pastor,, reports the Los Angeles Times
“Thirty years ago, the court upheld a state legislature’s practice of beginning its session with a nondenominational prayer. The justices said that “to invoke divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making laws” did not violate the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on an “establishment of religion.”
“But since then, several lower courts have said that a city council or county board may violate the 1st Amendment if its opening prayers favor one religion.
“Last year, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the town of Greece, N.Y., near Rochester, had crossed the line by inviting Christian pastors to deliver nearly every opening prayer. Though the town’s policy does not favor one religion, the appeals court said its practice had been to favor Christianity to the exclusion of other faiths.
“In practice, Christian clergy members have delivered nearly all of the prayers relevant to this litigation and have done so at the town’s invitation,” the appeals court said.
“Lawyers for the town appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that opening prayers are a standard practice at town councils and county boards across the nation.
Ken Klukowski, a lawyer with the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group, predicted the court would “not only affirm prayer but significantly strengthen the religious liberty rights of Americans in public life and in the public square.”