INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — House Speaker Brian Bosma said he is looking for ways to overturn a federal court ruling that said opening prayers in the House can no longer mention Jesus Christ or advance a particular religious faith.

Bosma said he has directed his legal team and requested the Indiana Attorney General’s office to begin investigating every possibility available to overturn the decision.

“Every man and woman of faith who are invited here should be allowed to pray in accordance with their own conscience,” said Bosma, a Republican from Indianapolis. “We have Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams, Christian ministers from every denomination that are here. Each chooses to pray in accordance with his or her own conscience or heart. I think that’s the American way.”

House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer, a South Bend Democrat who preceded Bosma as speaker, said he and previous speakers had followed the same practice regarding prayer.

“This is not a partisan situation. It’s simply once again legislation by the judiciary — judicial fiat,” Bauer said.

U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton issued a permanent injunction Wednesday barring Bosma from permitting sectarian prayer as part of the official business of the House. Bosma can continue the legislative prayers, but must advise those giving the invocations not to advance one faith and not to use Christ’s name or title, Hamilton said.

Hamilton said people do not have a First Amendment right to use an official platform like the speaker’s podium to express their own religious faiths.

“All are free to pray as they wish in their own houses of worship or in other settings,” he wrote. “Those who wish to participate in a practice of official prayer must be willing to stay within constitutional bounds.”

Bosma said the ruling is more extreme than others.

“If it stands, this will be the farthest reaching decision to my knowledge of any federal court specifically focusing on the name Christ and removing that from public discourse,” Bosma said. “I question how soon it will be when my ability to stand here and say the name just in discussion on the floor of the House will be taken away as well.”

Bosma declined to say what he would do regarding a House prayer if the ruling was not overturned or stayed when the House convenes on Jan. 4.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in June on behalf of four people, including a Quaker lobbyist, who said they found the tradition of offering the usually Christian prayers offensive.

Of 53 opening prayers in the House during the 2005 General Assembly session, 41 were given by clergy identified with Christian churches, and nine were delivered by state lawmakers.

A lay person, a Muslim imam and a Jewish rabbi each delivered one prayer, according to court documents. At least 29 House invocations mentioned Jesus Christ, the Savior or the Son, the documents said.

Hamilton said the prayers send the message to Christians that they are favored insiders and tell others they are outsiders.

Ken Falk, the ICLU’s legal director, said the state should never make someone feel like they are of lesser value because of their religion.

“The prayers send a very powerful message of exclusion to those who are not of that denomination,” Falk said.

During one prayer in April, elder Clarence Brown of Second Baptist Church in Bedford sang a gospel song called “Just A Little Talk With Jesus,” prompting some lawmakers to leave the chamber and several people to lodge complaints with the ICLU.

Brown said Wednesday he disagrees with Hamilton’s ruling.

“If it is not in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died on the cross, your prayers will not get answered,” Brown said.

But dozens of other religious leaders have signed a statement saying House prayers should honor religious diversity.

That statement has been sent to both Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton, R-Columbus, with an invitation to discuss an alternative policy on prayer.

Both leaders’ offices acknowledged receiving the statement but have not yet chosen to meet, said the Rev. Kevin Armstrong, senior pastor at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, an organizer of the campaign.

Marcia Goldstone, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Indianapolis, said the ruling does not ban prayer, but rather exclusive prayers.

She said prayers offered in the halls of government must be sensitive to the diverse religious lives of all Indiana citizens.

“The language should be hospitable and inclusive,” Goldstone said.

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