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New Board Faces Public Prayer Issue In Md. County

WESTMINSTER, Md. (AP) -- The newly elected Carroll County Commissioners face a lingering dispute over public prayer as they begin their four-year terms.

Tuesday's meeting in Westminster includes three freshmen and two veterans of the board that fought a federal-court challenge to its practice of opening public meetings with sometimes overtly Christian prayers.

With the lawsuit still pending, it's an open question whether the new, all-Republican board will continue the policy of having the commissioners give the invocation on a rotating basis.

The Supreme Court ruled in May that invited clergy may invoke specific deities in prayers at government meetings. That ruling involved the town of Greece, N.Y.

Plaintiffs in the Maryland case say elected officials violate the First Amendment prohibition on state-sponsored religion when they say such prayers themselves.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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