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Greece prayer case awaits ruling
Greece, N.Y. - A moment of prayer always precedes Town Board meetings in Greece, but a Supreme Court decision may soon shake up this tradition.
In 2008, Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and Linda Stephens, an atheist, filed a lawsuit against the Town of Greece. The case is called Town of Greece v. Galloway.
Ayesha Khan with Americans United is representing the two women and said the moment of prayer made the Galloway and Stephens feel alienated and unwelcomed.
Sharyn Evans of Greece said, From what I've heard from meetings and recordings I've heard, it didn't seem like it targeted anybody or excluded anybody.
The Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said a moment of prayer is commonplace on all levels of government, including the county and state level where he has served, and even in United States Congress.
Reilich said they offer up a time of prayer to anyone at the meeting. He also said most people in town are Christian.
Gregg Chisholm of Greece said, I go to church every Sunday, you know, all the power to them.
Elaine Amam of Greece said, "We bend over backwards for other religions, so why can't we have a prayer. If you don't want to participate, don't."
Some Christians in Town said they understand why the two women want separation between church and state.
They're not going to want to sit there and pray if they don't believe, said Britni Vaughn.
There's a lot of religions out there, said Justin Rodriguez. If they don't believe in that type of prayer, then I could see how it could be offensive."
A Supreme Court ruling is expected at the latest by June.
Reilich said if the court rules against a moment of prayer, the Town will instead have a moment of silent reflection.