Obama Administration, in Court Brief, Supports Prayer at Public Meetings
The Obama administration has filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of prayer at public meetings, Baptist Press reports. The Obama administration joined a group that includes the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and congressional Republicans in filing a brief in an appeal of a ruling that invalidated a New York town's prayer policy for its board meetings. "The case could lead to a major change in the law on religion that would go well beyond prayers at council meetings," the Los Angeles Times said Aug. 8. The Obama administration told the court that the town's practice should not be considered an endorsement of religion, the Times said. U.S. Solicitor Gen. Donald Verrilli Jr. wrote that opening a town meeting with prayer "does not amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion merely because most prayer-givers are Christian and many or most of their prayers contain sectarian references." Verrilli added that local councils should not be required to "closely police the content of prayers." Ken Klukowski of the Family Research Council called the administration's filing "a surprisingly conservative brief, and it came as a pleasant surprise," according to the Times. "It's gratifying that even the Obama administration recognizes that courts are not qualified to censor prayers," Klukowski said.