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Court says South Carolina town council’s prayers unconstitutional


(RNS) An appeals court has ruled that a South Carolina town council violated the Constitution by opening meetings with Christian prayers.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 22 that the practice of the Great Falls, S.C., town council of saying prayers specifically related to the Christian faith violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Darla Wynne, a follower of the Wiccan faith, filed suit against the council in 2001, saying the council’s “Christian prayer ritual” was unconstitutional. A lower court agreed with her in a 2003 ruling and told the council to stop mentioning the name of Jesus Christ in its prayers.

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said, “This ruling is a great victory for religious liberty and diversity.”