Pennsylvania House wins appeal in atheist prayer-policy suit

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Source: Associated Press

By MARC LEVY

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal appeals court reversed a lower court decision and ruled Friday that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ policy of barring atheists from delivering invocations does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

Friday’s decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Pennsylvania House’s policy of limiting prayers at the start of legislative sessions to guest chaplains who believe in God or a divine or higher power.

It reverses last year’s decision by a district judge, who sided with the atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists who sued. The judge ruled that the restrictions violated constitutional prohibitions on making laws that establish a religion.

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