Ceremonial prayer is but a
recognition that, since this Nation was founded and
until the present day, many Americans deem that their
own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond
the authority of government to alter or define and that
willing participation in civic affairs can be consistent
with a brief acknowledgment of their belief in a higher
power, always with due respect for those who adhere to
other beliefs. The prayer in this case has a permissible
ceremonial purpose. It is not an unconstitutional
establishment of religion.
The town of Greece does not violate
the First Amendment by opening its meetings with prayer
that comports with our tradition and does not coerce
participation by non adherents.
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