SUPREME COURT-TOWN BOARD-PRAYER
Legislative prayer gets Supreme Court review
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is weighing the constitutionality of a town council's opening prayers.
The case being argued today involves prayers offered by local clergy at the start of town council meetings in Greece, N.Y.
A federal appeals court said they violated the Constitution because nearly every prayer in an 11-year span was overtly Christian.
Greece is being backed by the Obama administration and many conservative groups in arguing that the court settled this issue 30 years ago when it held that an opening prayer is part of the nation's fabric and not a violation of the First Amendment. Some of those groups want the court to go further and get rid of other limits on religious expression in the public sphere.
On the other side are two town residents who sued over the prayers and the liberal groups that support them. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens say they and others who attend the meetings are a captive audience and should not be subjected to sectarian prayers.
330-a-15-(The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, in AP interview)-"in that prayer"-The Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says the opening prayers appear to have the town council's endorsement. (5 Nov 2013)