Atheist opens NY meeting; top court OK'd prayers

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Associated Press

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — An atheist has delivered the opening message at a town meeting in a New York community whose leaders won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right to start their gatherings with a prayer.

Dan Courtney invoked the signers of the Declaration of Independence Tuesday and urged members of the Greece town board to "seek the wisdom of all citizens, and to honor the enlightened wisdom and profound courage of those 56 men."

The court ruled 5-4 in May that the prayers were in line with national traditions and said the content is not significant as long as the prayers don't denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts. The town argued persons of any faith were welcome to give the invocation.

Town supervisor William Reilich (ry-lihk) says it's not unusual to have a diversity of views represented.

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