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Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Council Meetings

web posted May 6, 2014

NATION The United States Supreme Court upheld prayer to open council meetings and other government functions in a ruling released on Monday. The ruling upheld a previous ruling in 1983, that held that the Nebraska Legislature could open session with prayer. The case was originally filed against the town of Greece, N.Y. Local County Council members have commented on the decision as their meetings open with prayer as well.

According to the majority opinion, "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."

The 5-4 ruling broke down along conservative and liberal members of the Court.

All Edgefield County Council meetings are opened with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a prayer, most times offered by local pastors.

Edgefield County Council Chairman Dean Campbell, when asked for a comment on the ruling, provided a single sentence statement. " The U.S. Supreme Court ruled wisely in this decision."

Vice-chair Genia Blackwell said, "I pray every night. I think we should always look for God's guidance in everything we do." She said that she did not consider the prayer, offered to any denomination willing to participate in the meetings, as a problem. "It's open to anyone," she said.

The Edgefield County Council will hold it's May meeting tonight at 6 pm, and, as always, it will be opened with prayer.   

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