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Supreme Court Ruling Allows Prayer At Council Meetings

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In municipalities all over, they're taking another look at how their meetings begin.

In Carnegie, when the borough council gathers, there is no formal prayer.

"Typically, the Carnegie Borough Council opens up with a moment of silence, then the pledge of allegiance," said Borough Manager Steve Beuter. "And after a moment of silence, then we open it up if there's anything anyone wants to address."

Such as concerns for someone who is sick, or injured, or whatever concern is weighing on a council member's heart. And Beuter believes the Supreme Court ruling will have minimal impact there.

"I just really think council, at the moment, it depends on the person and anything they want to bring up at that time," Beuter said. "For example, if they want to discuss the vets and say a prayer for them, that might be something they do in the future."

In Ross Township, council meetings have for years started with an invocation.

"It's usually something that gives us wisdom," said Ross Township Commissioner Dan DeMarco, "but it doesn't make reference to God or any higher being, just please give us the strength to make wise decisions."

But DeMarco, who is a practicing Catholic on a board full of Christians, came Monday night with a prayer already written. And while he didn't' read it, he thinks the invocation should take a more prayerful approach.

"Please God, give us that through your grace, give us the strength to do that," he said, "to make our decision fair, wise and just. Decisions something to that effect."

It's a prayer DeMarco has always said to himself anyway.

While DeMarco would like to start the prayers immediately, he's holding off until the township solicitor can read the Supreme Court ruling and give a thumbs up.

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