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Public meeting prayers confound civic leaders

The U.S. Supreme Court effectively dropped the gavel yesterday to close debate on the government prayer issue by upholding the decision approving a ban on praying to Jesus at Fredericksburg city council meetings.  If there were any doubt before, the issue now is resolved:  governments may allow prayer at their meetings, but the prayers may not indicate a preference for any one religion.

As officials in Roanoke and Fredericksburg discovered, however, getting clergy to offer nondenominational prayers is not so easy.  The Roanoke Times reports that prayer leaders sometimes insist on  praying “in Jesus’ name,” despite instructions to avoid the Christian reference.

By Peter Vieth

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