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Appeals Court Rules Prayer Illegal in One Michigan County

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Christian-only prayer at commission meetings in Jackson County, Michigan is illegal. 

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners offers a traditional prayer invoking the name of Jesus during meetings, but the court says it violates the U.S. Constitution by promoting one faith over others. 

In a 2-1 decision, the court ruled in favor of Peter Bormuth, the offended resident, who complained about the prayers during the meetings where he would discuss environmental issues. 

One of the commissioners called Peter Bormuth a “nitwit” and said his lawsuit was a planned attack on Jesus Christ. 

The appeals court said prayer invocations at public meetings can be legal, but in Jackson County, the judges said that only commissioners offered prayer and not audience members. 

The court reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani in Detroit. 

Battani had called the plaintiff Bormuth “hypersensitive.”

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