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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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CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN OFFICIAL PRAYER:

 

Federal Court Says Fla. County Board Cannot Discriminate Against Non-Theists

Brevard County’s Exclusionary Prayer Practice Found Unconstitutional

A federal court last night struck down the Brevard County, Fla., Board of County Commissioners’ policy of excluding non-theists from giving opening invocations, a ruling that is being hailed by the groups that sponsored the litigation.

In its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said a local governing body cannot limit its invocation speakers to those from monotheistic religions.  

AU Urges Federal Appeals Court To End California School Board’s Unconstitutional Prayer Policy

Americans United is supporting the students, parents, employees and community members who are asking a federal appeals court to rule unconstitutional a California school board’s practice of opening public meetings with Christian prayers and proselytizing during those meetings.

AU Files Brief In Michigan Legislative Prayer Case

Americans United in late March filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a legislative prayer case in Michigan.

AU is supporting the case of Peter Bormuth, a Druid who opposes the policy of Jackson County Commissioners to open their meetings with exclusively Christian prayers.

New Hearing Sought In Case Of Texas School Board Opening Meetings With Prayers

A federal appeals court in March ruled a Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led prayers.

Isaiah Smith, a Birdville Independent School District graduate, and the American Humanist Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit objecting to the Haltom City-based district’s practice of having students open board meetings with invocations that are predominantly Christian and encouraging the audience to participate.

The AHA said Smith felt “isolated and excluded by the school board’s practice of promoting religion in the public sphere.”

Challenge To Pennsylvania House Of Representatives’ Legislative Prayer Practices Can Proceed, Court Rules

Church-State Watchdog Group Sponsoring Litigation Welcomes Ruling

A federal court today ruled that a legal challenge to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ legislative prayer practice can proceed.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which is sponsoring the litigation along with American Atheists, welcomed the decision in Fields v. Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Fighting For Religious Freedom In Arizona With An Invocation

Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.

Entire Federal Appeals Court To Rehear Case Of Christian Prayers At Mich. County Meetings

A federal appeals court in February ruled that a Michigan county’s policy of opening its meetings with exclusively Christian prayers was unconstitutional, a decision that will be reheard by the full appeals court.

A three-member panel of judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 15 ruled 2-1 in favor of Peter Bormuth, a Druid who opposed the prayer policy of Jackson County commissioners. Board members  open­ed their meetings by personally delivering exclusively Christian prayers.

Americans United Hails Federal Appeals Court’s Ruling In Mich. Government Prayer Case

Court Notes That Resident Who Brought Case Was Ridiculed By Jackson County Officials

A federal appeals court today ruled that county commissioners in Jackson County, Mich., may not open their meetings by personally delivering prayers that are exclusively Christian in nature.

The case, Bormuth v. County of Jackson, was brought by a local resident who is a Druid and who opposed the prayer policy. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in Peter Bormuth’s favor.

Americans United says the court made the right call.

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