ATLANTA (AP) - A federal appeals court has upheld a Georgia county's practice of letting clergy open meetings with Christian
prayers, saying the judiciary should not start editing prayers.
The three-judge panel voted 2-1 to reject the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit seeking to ban Cobb County officials from starting meetings with invocations from invited clergy.
County officials said clergy from all faiths are welcome, but ACLU lawyers contended the invocations are "overtly Christian prayers" that suggest that the religion is sponsored by the county.
The ruling, written by 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Bill Pryor, concluded that courts should avoid parsing the content of prayers as long as they're not used to advance a particular religion or disparage another faith.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)