The highest court in the country made a decision Monday that trickles down into every local government in the country.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing ceremonial prayer before government meetings.

This is an issue that has played out with some controversy in East Tennessee. The Freedom from Religion Foundation filed several lawsuits against local governments, police departments, even a school in recent years.

The foundation wrote a letter to the Lenoir City Police Department trying to get the word "religion" removed from the patches officers wore on their uniforms. The group has also complained about prayer used at Lenoir City meetings and school functions.

On Monday, Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens emailed the following statement to 10News:

"Lenoir City Government has and will continue to be fair and equal to all its citizens regardless of their religious beliefs. Obviously we are very pleased by the Supreme Court's ruling and will continue prayer before each council meeting."

Knoxville and Knox County leaders faced similar pressure from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Each governing body has continued to hold a short invocation before their meetings.

City Councilman Marshall Stair explained, a handful of council members take turns offering the invocation. Stair said they are careful not to push religion onto the public during their meetings.

"I never felt like our prayer did that. Like I said, it's very inclusive, very ceremonial," Stair said. "You have to be very careful because we certainly didn't want to violate the Constitution."

He guessed the Supreme Court ruling would not likely change anything for council members, but it would offer some clarity.

"So now we know that it's okay or not okay," he said. " That's a great relief to me as a council member, and I'm sure, my colleagues."

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