ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Some freedom-from-religion advocates are pressing Maryland and six other states to remove provisions from their state constitutions prohibiting people who don't believe in God from holding public office.

The Openly Secular coalition, based in Columbus, Ohio, says the other states are Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The New York Times first reported on the campaign.

The Supreme Court struck down such restrictions in 1961.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The plaintiffs in a public prayer dispute are dropping their request for a federal judge in Baltimore to reinstate his order barring the Carroll County Commissioners from opening their meetings with invocations mentioning Jesus Christ.

Lawyers for the Washington-based American Humanist Association said in a filing recorded Monday that they withdrew the motion to save court time. They say they plan to file a motion for summary judgment, asking the judge to decide the matter without a full-blown trial.

As the nation marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Junior, Delmarva Public Radio Essayist Goerge Merrill considers that this civil rights leader may have saved the soul of a nation.

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REHOBOTH, Del. (AP) - A Delaware pastor is planning to lead a July 4 rally in defense of religious freedom after being denied permission to hold a series of Sunday services at a public bandstand in Rehoboth Beach.

The Rev. Robert Dekker, pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lewes, asked Rehoboth officials in late May for permission to lead eight summer services at the bandstand. City manager Greg Ferrese denied the application, saying he could not mix church and state.