Supreme Court Decision May Change Prayers In Pittsylvania County - WSET.com - ABC13

Supreme Court Decision May Change Prayers In Pittsylvania County Meetings

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Pittsylvania Co., VA - Prayers at a town council meeting do not violate the Constitution, even if they stress Christianity, according to a Supreme Court ruling Monday morning in a case out of Greece, New York.

The ACLU took on Pittsylvania County, saying the county's board of supervisors' Christian prayers at the start of the meetings were unconstitutional. The ACLU won that case more than a year ago, but some say this ruling gives the county renewed hope.

It's been a heated debate, now only made stronger.

"In my heart I knew we was right. There was no doubt in my mind or my heart that we were right," said Tim Barber, Vice-Chairman Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
    
The Supreme Court's 5 to 4 decision says the content of prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion. This decision reignites the Pittsylvania County case.

"We tell our children to stand up for what you believe in. That's what I did, I've been talking about it all my life, I stood up for what I believed in," said Barber.

Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman Tim Barber says they are currently in the appeal process trying to bring Christian prayers back to their meetings. He says now they may go back to the judge, who a year ago ruled against them, and ask him to reverse his decision, but ACLU Attorney Rebecca Glenberg says not so fast.

"The Supreme Court made clear that it's not a blank check for local governments to pray in any way whatsoever," said Glenberg.
    
Glenberg says there are some major differences between the two cases.

"It was invited members of the public who were delivering the prayers, rather than elected government officials," said Glenberg.

While she's disappointed by this latest ruling , Glenberg says it may not make a difference in Pittsylvania County.

"We will have to review the decision and the details very carefully before we can determine what if any effect it will have on our case," said Glenberg.

Barber says their whole goal is just to be able to pray again in their meetings, however they want.

Glenberg says they will fight this for as long as it stays in the court system.
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