The British government is moving to override a High Court order and restore the rights of towns and cities to hold prayers as part of official business.

The High Court ruled in February that it was illegal for town halls to conduct prayers at the start of meetings, RNS.com reports.

But a parliamentary order that took effect Friday gives new powers to local governments that allow them to effectively sidestep that ruling and resume prayers.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles spearheaded the measure meant to give "general power of competence of local authorities in England," RNS.com. reports.

The British government came forward in support of the move saying, "Parliament has been clear that councils should have greater freedom from interference," the report says.

The measure will give councils "back the freedom to pray," the government says.

But the website reports that the director of the National Secular Society has hinted at a possible legal challenge to the new powers, saying the government is at "risk of being in contempt of court."

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