The Problem With Prayer In Greece Ny

05.18.12 | Bob Price

At issue is the fact that from 1999 until 2007 only Christians stood up before board meetings to give a prayer, many of which invoked the name of Jesus Christ.

The court declared, “the town neither publicly solicited volunteers to deliver invocations nor informed members of the general public that volunteers would be considered or accepted.”

It addition, the court took issue with the title of the role: Chaplain of the Month.

The Second Circuit made clear that prayers are allowed at legislative meetings, but deemed Greece’s policy amounted to a promotion of one religion.

Greece’s Chief of Staff Jeff McCann says the town never denied anyone’s request to give the monthly prayer.

“We’ve had people of different denominations,” McCann asserted. “We have one gentleman who is Jewish and regularly comes for prayer.”

According to court paperwork, though, non-Christians started giving the prayers only after the first complaint.

That complaint came from Nancy Braiman, a Brighton resident.

“I hope the town of Greece realizes that continuing a policy of sectarian prayers is excluding members of their community and more people would feel welcome if they did not continue giving the sectarian prayers,” Braiman said.

Greece residents Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens were the two to actually file a lawsuit.

Their attorneys told 13WHAM neither would comment on Thursday’s ruling.

McCann says he’s considering taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robert Brenna of the law firm Brenna, Brenna & Boyce does see a potential national case, but also sees a quick solution.

“I think if the town takes the position that it wants to take a look at how it picks certain clergy, it might find there’s a simple fix underneath it all,” Brenna said.

The Second Circuit sent the case back to the district court ordering a rewrite consistent with this recent ruling.