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Prayer in Indiana State House Before Appeals Court

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A federal appeals court is considering whether to lift a ban on sectarian prayers in Indiana’s state house.

Attorneys argued the case before a three-judge panel in Chicago today.

Since late last year, a judge’s ruling has barred the Indiana House from opening its day with prayers that show a preference for a specific religion.

But Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma wants the appeals court to overturn that ban.

He says he’s fighting for free speech and free prayer.

“I believe it’s important to uphold a tradition that dates back 225 years or more in our own nation of opening legislative bodies at the state and federal level with an acknowledgement that we are created creatures,” he says.

The House speaker calls it “inappropriate” for a judge to restrict the speech of another branch of government.

But Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana says legislative prayers cannot advance a particular religion.

He says most of those who led prayers last year were Christian, and many mentioned Jesus.

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