Lancaster [California] officials have the right to pray to Jesus before council meetings, a U.S. district judge ruled this week.

According to information released by the city Tuesday, the judgment allows Lancaster to continue its invocation policy, which has been in place since August 2009.

Plaintiffs Shelley Rubin and Maureen I. Feller had specifically challenged the prayer that opened an April 2010 council meeting in which reference was made to Jesus Christ. But U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer sided with the city.

“Lancaster takes immense pride in winning this case and defending the fundamental right to pray, not only for our citizens, but indeed for all people across this nation,” Mayor R. Rex Parris said in a statement.

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