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Feb 9, 2011 4:38 PM by Stephanie Collins

Govt. Lawyers say there's "no legal standing to challenge prayer luncheon"

DENVER (AP) - Government lawyers say an Air Force Academy
educator and a watchdog group have no legal standing to challenge a prayer luncheon at the school.

A Department of Justice attorney told a federal judge Wednesday that associate professor David Mullin and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation didn't meet the legal requirements to file suit.

Their suit alleges the luncheon violates the constitutional separation of church and state and that some faculty believe they'll face retribution if they don't attend.

The attorney for Mullin and the foundation argued they're entitled to sue because Mullin has good reason to fear retribution and because the foundation is a civil rights group representing academy personnel who don't feel they can speak up.

The judge says she'll rule later Wednesday. The luncheon is scheduled for Thursday.

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