Court rejects appeal over prayer at public meeting

January 17, 2012 - 11:10 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a North Carolina county commission over the mostly Christian prayers offered at the beginning of its public meetings.

The justices on Tuesday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that held that the predominantly Christian prayers at the start of Forsyth County commission meetings violated the First Amendment's prohibition on government endorsement of a particular religion.

The commission said its doors have long been open to religious leaders of many faiths. But the appeals court in Richmond, Va., found that more than three-quarters of the 33 invocations given before meetings between May 2007 and December 2008 referred to "Jesus," ''Jesus Christ," ''Christ" or "Savior."