What role does prayer play in open public meetings?
That’s the question the Supreme Court is scheduled to take up today in a case highlighting the intersection of religion and government, according to The Associated Press:
"The justices said they will review an appeals court ruling that held that the town of Greece in suburban Rochester in upstate New York violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity.""The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the town should have made a greater effort to invite people from other faiths to open its monthly board meetings."
"The town says the high court already has upheld prayers at the start of legislative meetings and that private citizens offered invocations of their own choosing. The town said in court papers that the opening prayers should be found to be constitutional, "so long as the government does not act with improper motive in selecting prayer-givers."
"Two town residents who are not Christian complained that they felt marginalized by the steady stream of Christian prayers and challenged the practice. They are represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State."
"Reacting to the court action Monday, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said, "A town council meeting isn’t a church service, and it shouldn’t seem like one."