The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) declined on Monday to hear Ocala, Florida’s request to drop a lawsuit filed by atheists.
The suit concerns a 2014 prayer vigil that the city hosted and helped run after a local shooting. Jews and Christians participated in the community prayer vigil, which was promoted by the city police department, local media reported.
In a dissent to the court’s decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the courts should reconsider the “offended observer” theory that has come up in the case.
Why are the plaintiffs upset? Plaintiff and Ocala resident Art Rojas said he was offended by the event, and argued that the government appeared to endorse a specific religion in violation of the First Amendment.
Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing the city of Ocala, says Rojas did not have the right to file the lawsuit because of prior precedent in a 1982 case.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2023, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.