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Decision on Prayer Could Reopen Local Debate

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The US Supreme Court decision allowing prayers at town board meetings is expected to reopen Region debate. Justices ruled 5-to-4 that prayer in legislative chambers that prayer in legislative chambers is not a significant curtailment of anyone's religious freedom and does not violate the US Constitution so long as ministers don't proselytize, or, denigrate non-believers.  In Hammond last June, the city, concerned that the issue may spark litigation, put their practice of praying before city council meetings on hold, awaiting the court's opinion.  "The ruling is an important one because the court has shown traditionally great reluctance about religion and public life," said Adam Winkler, professor of constitutional law at UCLA. "But this court is creating new opportunities and new space for religious believers to express themselves."  The court ruled that the content of the prayers isn't critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.


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