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Court Nixes Challenge To Indiana House Prayer

CHICAGO (CN) - Taxpayers lack standing to challenge the Indiana House's practice of opening sessions with a prayer, the Seventh Circuit ruled.

It reversed a decision that the prayers cannot refer to Christ or any specific religious denomination. "The invocation is to be a short prayer asking for guidance and help in matters that come before the members,"a letter to visiting clergy states. "We ask that you strive for an ecumenical prayer as our members, staff and constituents come from different faith backgrounds."

The circuit did not address the merits of the case, but ruled that the taxpayers were not able to show that the House tradition of inviting clergy to offer the prayer uses tax dollars to establish and implement a program that violates the constitution's ban on government-backed religion. See ruling in Hinrichs v. Indiana House Speaker.

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