Senator Orr: Prayer before government meetings will continue - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Senator Orr: Prayer before government meetings will continue

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

Alabama's House Speaker said the prayers before government proceedings will continue, despite a legal challenge that is heading to the US Supreme Court.

The case comes out of New York, where opponents say a government entity "violates the separation of church and state when a prayer is said at an official meeting."

Senator Arthur Orr said it is ironic that this is a First Amendment challenge, considering the Founding Fathers constructed the constitution and they prayed before legislative sessions.

House Speaker Mike Hubbard said they will continue to open legislative sessions in Montgomery with prayer. In the New York case, a circuit court ruled that a town government violated the establishment clause in the First Amendment by doing so. Senator Orr said that is a misunderstanding of the clause, that it dictates the government cannot create a religion, but that it does not say anything about expressing religious beliefs.

"The First Continental Congresses all began in prayer," said Senator Orr. "So did the state legislatures on the original 13 colonies. All began in prayer. So, it's a historical thing, written by those who wrote our Constitution. If it was good enough for them, it's certainly good for us in the 21st Century."

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning prayer in government meetings in October, and is expected to announce a decision in the summer of 2014.

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