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Americans United fought to keep exclusive prayers – ones that evoke particular religions – out of your town meetings, and the Supreme Court told us “NO.” ---  Now Religious Right zealots are hijacking the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision, claiming they have a green light to promote the majority’s prayers in local government meetings across the nation.

Now it’s AU’s turn to say “NO!”

The Greece ruling was a bad decision, but the Court did make it clear that the First Amendment imposes limits on local governments that open their meetings with ceremonial prayers.  Towns cannot discriminate on the basis of religion; town leaders cannot lead others in prayers or integrate worship into the legislative process; and invocations cannot proselytize or denigrate other belief systems.

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Full Appeals Court Will Reconsider N.C. Prayer Case

A federal appeals court announced Nov. 1 that it will reconsider a ruling that allowed the Rowan County, N.C., Board of Commissioners to open its meetings with public prayers, most of which were Christian in nature.

Pa. House Of Representatives Can’t Discriminate Against Non-Theists, Americans United And American Atheists Say In Lawsuit

Legislative Body’s Exclusionary Invocation Policy Is Unconstitutional, Church-State Watchdogs Assert

A Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ policy barring people who do not believe in God from offering pre-meeting invocations is discriminatory, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

In a federal lawsuit filed today, Americans United and American Atheists explain that several non-theists who requested to deliver opening invocations before the House were deemed ineligible on the grounds that they are “non-adherents or nonbelievers.”

Ariz. Town Grapples With Prayer Policy After Complaints

Officials in an Arizona town have decided to change the community’s invocation policy after Americans United raised the possibility of a lawsuit.

Members of the Chino Valley Town Council had been in the habit of reciting mostly Christian prayers out loud before meetings. The new policy, approved unanimously, calls for them to pray together before meetings out of public view after some members of the community complained.

Phoenix Officials Return Prayer To Agenda After Community Complaints

The Phoenix City Council has decided to once again begin its meetings with official prayers after a brief flirtation with an opening moment of silence lead to community backlash.

The city council voted 6-2 March 23 to bring back spoken prayers to its meetings. The invocations may only be made by chaplains for the local police and fire departments.

N.C. County Roiled By Flap Over Official Prayer Policy

The Cleveland County, N.C., Board of Education voted recently to end its practice of opening meetings with a moment of silence in favor of allowing official invocations.

Last year, the board voted 8-2 to continue its previous policy of beginning meetings with a moment of silence. But some local agitators were upset by that decision and called for more vocal forms of religion to be injected into the meetings.

School Board In Fla. Rejects Sectarian Invocations

The Collier County, Fla., School Board has decided against opening its meetings with an invocation. Some local residents had called for the invocations as an alternative to the board’s current practice of opening its meetings with a moment of silence.

Ian Smith, a staff attorney for Americans United, sent the school board a letter informing them that prayer at school board meetings violates the First Amendment.

'Christians-Only' Prayer?

Rob Hudelson, a member of the Coolidge, Ariz., City Council, has strong opinions about the role of Chris­tianity in government.

“I think it’s very important,” Hudelson said during a September council meeting. “We just proclaimed Constitution Week. You know what was said at the end of the [Revolutionary] War? A treaty in Paris that said, ‘In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.’ You don’t get that from the Quran. You get it from the Bible. You get it from Christianity. That’s our heritage.”

Americans United Asks Federal Court To Strike Down N.C. County’s Prayer Practice

Government Officials Coerced Citizens To Participate in Christian Prayer, Church-State Watchdog Group Says

The Rowan County, N.C., Board of Commissioners’ practice of coercing citizens to participate in Christian prayers at its meetings should be struck down, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.

Mich. County Must Stop Imposing Christian Prayers At Meetings, Americans United Says

Federal Court Should Rule Prayer Practice Unconstitutional, Church-State Watchdog Asserts In Legal Brief

The Jackson County, Mich., Board of Commissioners has violated the First Amendment by composing and delivering Christian prayers at its public meetings and pressuring citizens to participate in those prayers, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.