Supreme Court takes up challenge to public prayer during government meetings

BY newsdesk  November 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM EST

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on the role that prayer can play during government meetings, and whether or not those prayers must represent a range of religions.

The town of Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, is asking the court to uphold its practice of opening town council meetings with a prayer. An appeals court previously ruled that the invocations are a violation of the First Amendment because the council almost always invited Christians to deliver the prayers.

The Supreme court’s consideration of Town of Greece v. Galloway is complicated, because past decisions have allowed a place for prayer at the start of government meetings but the government cannot dictate the content or affiliation of such prayers.

Watch Religion and Ethics Newsweekly’s report of the case or read a preview of the arguments on SCOTUSblog.

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly correspondent Tim O’Brien previews Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of public prayer. Watch the video above or read the full transcript.