Indiana joins push to allow public body prayers

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana has joined a push to allow prayers endorsing specific religions before public meetings.

The state attorney general's office last week signed onto a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to exempt public bodies from screening opening prayers for sectarian references.

That case involves a town board in New York that opens each meeting with prayers that stress Christianity.

While the court has previously ruled that prayer that doesn't endorse a particular religion is acceptable at public meetings, Indiana and 21 other states want the justices to hold that sectarian prayer is also constitutional.

Members of both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly hold prayers before each session. Most of those prayers are led by Protestant clergy. Many other public boards observe a moment of silence rather than prayers.

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