Judge OKs Prayers by N.Y. Town Council

A federal judge has ruled that a town board in upstate New York isn't doing anything unconstitutional by opening its meetings with a brief prayer.

The judge signed an order Thursday tossing out a lawsuit filed by two residents of the town of Greece who had complained that prayers held at the start of town council meetings favored Christians and violated the separation of church and state.

U.S. District Judge Charles Siragusa noted that government bodies throughout the country routinely invite religious leaders to make invocations at the start of public meetings.

He said those prayers are acceptable as long as the town body isn't proselytizing or advancing any one faith at the expense of others.

The town says it welcomes people of any faith to give the prayer.