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Brentwood residents challenge town for opening council meetings with Christian prayer

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When the Town Council convenes in the tiny town of Brentwood in Prince George’s County, it is customary to open the session with the Lord’s Prayer. But two residents say that the prayer favors Christianity over other religions and thus violates the U.S. Constitution.

Two residents, one a Catholic, the other a Buddhist, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday challenging the town’s practice.

The lawsuit was filed with the assistance of Americans United for Separation of Church and State in Washington.

“By persistently sponsoring this Christian prayer, the Town Council has publicly aligned itself with a single faith, sent the message to non-Christians that they are unwelcome at Council meetings and that the Council does not represent their concerns, and disrespected Christians who believe that prayer should remain private and sacred,” the lawsuit said.

The town’s mayor, Roger Rudder, said he had not seen the lawsuit but was aware of the residents’ objections.

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