Atheist to open NY meeting, top court OKed prayers

By

GREECE, N.Y. (AP) — An atheist is set to deliver the invocation in a western New York community whose town board won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding its right to open meetings with a prayer.

Dan Courtney says he asked the town of Greece for an opportunity to deliver the "non-theist" message right after the 5-4 decision in May.

The majority of conservative justices declared the prayers in line with national traditions and said the content is not significant as long as the prayers don't denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts. The town argued persons of any faith were welcome to give the invocation.

Courtney says his request was granted without question and Tuesday's meeting was the first open slot.

Town supervisor William Reilich (ry-lihk) says it's not unusual to have a diversity of views represented.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.