Supreme Court to hear new case on religion in public life

from The chairman of the local Baha’i congregation concluded his prayer with “Allah-u-Abha,” which loosely translates to “God the All-Glorious.” A Jew offered a prayer speaking of “the songs of David, your servant.” And a Wiccan priestess, mindful of her venue in the town of Greece, N.Y., thought that Athena and Apollo were apt deities to call upon. But they were the exceptions. Almost every other “chaplain of the month” during a decade of town board meetings in this Rochester suburb was a Christian, and more often than not called on Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit to guide the council’s deliberations. A federal appeals court said last year that such a “steady drumbeat” of Christian invocations violates the Constitution’s prohibition against government endorsement of religion. Now, the issue is set to come before the Supreme Court. Next week — soon after the court’s marshal announces a new session with the phrase “God save the United States and this honorable court” — the justices will once again tackle the role of religion in the public square.

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