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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

CBS 46 Atlanta - County hot over ACLU prayer lawsuit

CBS 46 Atlanta - County hot over ACLU prayer lawsuitMarietta
County hot over ACLU prayer lawsuit
Oct 19, 2005, 11:55 AM

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- Cobb County officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed in August by the Georgia Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union charging the county with making "overly Christian" prayers before meetings.

Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens and Cobb Planning Commission Chairman Bob Homan were both named as defendants in the ACLU's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta. Seven Cobb County residents were also plaintiffs in the suit.

The ACLU claims the prayers before commission meetings are too Christian. One prayer ended, "in the name of Jesus our savior," and dozens more since 2003 mentioned Jesus, according to the lawsuit.

The ACLU is not challenging the commission's right to pray before meetings.

In its response to the lawsuit, county officials denied that the prayers alienate certain citizens, said the prayers were not "an unconstitutional endorsement of religion" and did not "trivialize religion."

Prayer continues at county meetings while the lawsuit is pending.

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