Nonbelievers sue over Pennsylvania House’s opening prayers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A group of people who don’t believe in God are challenging the way prayers are handled before sessions of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Harrisburg federal court says nonbelievers are treated like a disfavored minority who can be discriminated against, and that House officials denied their requests to make an opening invocation.

Five people and three organizations are suing House Speaker Mike Turzai, the parliamentarian and five lawmakers.

The plaintiffs also claim they’ve been pressured by House security officers to stand during prayers. The lawsuit says House policy violates their constitutional rights.

They want a judge to order House officials to allow them to give an invocation and to prevent anyone from forcing them to stand during the prayer.

A House Republican spokesman declined comment.

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