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Federal judge in North Carolina considers bid to again allow prayer at Forsyth County meetings


WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — A federal judge in North Carolina will hear arguments to again allow sectarian prayers before meetings of the Forsyth County commissioners.

The county's lawyers will tell Judge James Beaty on Thursday he should drop a 2010 order that banned commissioners from having clergy deliver pre-meeting prayers that refer to Jesus Christ or other deities.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this year that a New York town's inclusive policy meant it didn't violate the Constitution by allowing ministers to deliver Christian prayers at meetings. Forsyth County had used a similar practice before it was blocked by an earlier court order.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the Supreme Court said all faiths and beliefs should be allowed to participate, while Forsyth's rules limit it to religious leaders from established local congregations.

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