A conservative legal firm is claiming victory after a federal district court lifted an order placed against a public prayer policy in North Carolina.
The move comes following the Greece vs. Galloway Supreme Court decision that came last May — a case that resulted in the upholding of public and sectarian prayer at government meetings.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit lifted the order against Forsyth County's prayer policy Thursday, coming into compliance with the high court's decision. The appeals court had previously backed a 2011 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina opposing sectarian prayer.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm representing the local government, claims that the now-defunct order "required the county to censor the way people pray to ensure only generic prayers are offered at public meetings."
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It resulted from a 2007 court battle brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of three residents who were offended after observing sectarian prayers at county meetings.
The offended residents were initially victorious and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, but the Greece vs. Galloway decision has now trumped the previous court decisions — a development that the Alliance Defending Freedom is welcoming.
"All Americans should have the liberty to pray without being censored, just as the Supreme Court found only a few months ago, and we are delighted to see this freedom restored in Forsyth County," attorney Brett Harvey said in a statement. "The Supreme Court affirmed the freedom of Americans to pray according to their consciences before public meetings."
As TheBlaze previously reported, Greece vs. Galloway resulted in a 5-4 decision, offering a win to the town of Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester that had been defending prayers routinely offered at its meetings against offended residents' complaints.
The landmark ruling fell in line with a 1983 decision that dealt with a similar scenario in the Nebraska legislature. The majority ruled in the most recent case that offering prayers is constitutional so long as government officials make an effort to be inclusive of all faiths.
Read about the landmark Supreme Court victory here.
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