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LAWSUIT ASKS COURT TO FIND PUBLIC PRAYERS VALID AND APPROPRIATE

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The Deseret News published a story last week about a civil suit in Washington County, where a group of St. George residents are asking the court to declare prayers at commencement exercises "lawful and constitutional."

Matthew M.F. Hilton, the attorney who filed the suit on behalf of a group of parents, students and a faculty member, said it was not clear in the story that the lawsuit does not ask the court to decide whether graduation ceremonies should include prayer. It asks the court to find that such prayer at public meetings is "valid and appropriate."The suit contends ceremonial prayer sets "a respectful and solemn tone for the graduation ceremony" and recognizes "our cultural and legal heritage that assumes man has a relationship with God. The Supreme Court has observed that our `institutions presuppose the existence of a supreme being'," Hilton said.