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Court Ban May End Meal Prayers at Annapolis

April 06, 2002|From Times Wire Services

ANNAPOLIS, Md — ANNAPOLIS, Md.--Mealtime prayers at the U.S. Naval Academy might cease if the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upholds a lower court's ban on saying grace at Virginia Military Institute.

In light of the VMI case, Naval Academy officials are reviewing the legality of traditional prayers at lunch, which probably date from the school's founding 157 years ago.

A judge ruled in January that grace before meals at VMI is unconstitutional, supporting an American Civil Liberties Union claim based on separation of church and state. The Virginia case could set a precedent covering religious practices at military schools and other public colleges.

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