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Supreme Court blesses prayer at the start of town meetings

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a town’s practice of prayer at the start of a town meeting did not violate the U.S. Constitution in Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway. The Court held that prayer can even be sectarian, provided that there is no policy of discrimination, persons of any faith may present, the prayers are given at the beginning of the meeting, the prayers are intended to elevate and solemnize the proceedings, and the purpose is not to proselytize or condemn non-believers or religious minorities. The Court warned that not all instances of prayer would be constitutional, and that these cases are highly fact-specific and should be reviewed based on the “pattern of prayers over time” rather than the content of any single prayer.

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