On Nov. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway. Americans United, representing the respondents in this case, challenges the use of almost exclusively Christian prayers before meetings of the town board in Greece, N.Y.

AU brought the lawsuit on behalf of two local residents, Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, who oppose the use of sectarian invocations at local government meetings. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Galloway and Stephens, but the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Religious Right legal group that is representing the city, appealed to the Supreme Court.

The high court has not examined the issue of prayers before government meetings since 1983’s Marsh v. Chambers. In that ruling, the Supreme Court upheld legislative prayers in Nebraska but noted that the prayers were generally non-sectarian. Americans United argues that the prayers in Greece, which are almost always Christian in character, are quite different.

A decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway is expected by June 2014. Here are some resources to help you learn more about this important case:


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