Americans United’s lawsuit in the news! Click through the link after the quote to read the whole story.
In the present case, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals departed from that analysis in a May 2012
ruling. It found that the town’s method of picking its prayer
givers and the explicitly Christian references in some of the
prayers, including mentions of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit,
mean that the practice “must be viewed as an endorsement of a
particular religious viewpoint” in violation of the
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment which holds that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of
Stephens and Galloway were exposed to the new prayer policy
when attending town meetings for other reasons. Both women
objected to the strong Christian messages being conveyed,
including references to Jesus Christ.
“I shouldn’t be forced to conform or pray to your deity
because I want to go to a town board meeting,” Galloway told
After an initial complaint made by another resident made no
headway while generating a lot of local headlines, Stephens and
Galloway, who knew each other via the local branch of a women’s
organization, sought advice from Americans United for Separation
of Church and State, a Washington-based national group that
advocates for the separation of church and state.
Stephens, a member of the local chapter, was able to secure
free legal services. After a meeting with town officials led to
no resolution, Americans United filed suit in federal court in
the Western District of New York.