The Supreme Court has upheld the right of local officials to open town council meetings with prayer, ruling that this does not violate the Constitution even if the prayers routinely stress Christianity.
The court said in a 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.
The ruling was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester.
“The prayer opportunity in this case must be evaluated against the backdrop of historical practice,” the majority wrote in its opinion. “As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of ‘God save the United States and this honorable Court’ at the opening of this Court’s sessions.”