Leading on a prayer

Supreme Court case could affect how local city councils, school boards start their meetings

A case concerning legislative prayer being heard before the Supreme Court today centers around a town council in New York, but the results could just as easily apply to any one of several governing bodies in Callaway that start their meetings off with an appeal to a higher power.

Today’s case centers on the town council of Greece, N.Y. — a suburb of Rochester — which opens its meetings with prayer. According to an Associated Press article, this will be the high court’s first legislative prayer case since 1983, at which time it ruled opening prayer is part of the nation’s fabric and not a violation of the First Amendment.

The North Callaway School Board, Fulton City Council and New Bloomfield City Council also include prayer at the beginning of their meetings — for reasons similar to those cited by the Supreme Court.

Fulton Mayor LeRoy Benton said the council has been starting meetings with a prayer for as long as he has served — beginning 15 years ago as a council member.

“It’s just a local tradition and something council members enjoy,” Benton said. “It just reminds you that we’re not the highest power there.”

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