Supreme Court gives public prayer a blessing

May 5, 2014

church stateThe Supreme Court gave limited approval on Monday to public prayers at public board meetings, citing a New York community’s history of religious acknowledgment in the legislature. [CNN]

In a 5-4 ruling, the justices ruled that confined to specific circumstances, faith and government may intersect. Shortly before the high court gave its opinion, the marshal gave a short religious invocation.

This ruling comes less than a month after the Pismo Beach City Council agreed to stop having prayer before meetings and to pay legal fees and damages of about $47,502 to settle a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation

In the Greece, New York suit, two women objected to invocations at monthly public sessions on government property that were overwhelmingly Christian in nature. The town of about 94,000 residents began allowing prayers to start its meetings in 1999, changing from offering a moment of silence.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible.

Dissenting, Justice Elena Kagan said, “When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”


45 Comments

  1. MaryMalone says:

    If a person thinks they need to pimp their religion or god at every occasion, witnessing in front of strangers at the drop of a hat, it doesn’t say much for their religion.

    And doing it for politics…there is real desperation in using one’s god in anything as corrupted and filthy as politics. It’s like pimplng Jesus.

    You know the old saying…”when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

    Keep fleas off of Jesus. Don’t politicize religion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  2. bobfromsanluis says:

    So we have a group of five older males, mostly white, all affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, saying that the Christian prayers said at the beginning of city council meetings, town hall meetings, mostly anything to do with the most local of government is simply a “ceremonial” prayer; what does that say about their religious beliefs, their interpretation of their religion and religion in general? Are they admitting that religion is mostly all about ceremony? Are they being hypocrites on the question of allowing denominational specific prayers to be said at government functions?

    It would seem to me (as someone who is not religious at all) that if you are dedicated enough to practice your religion in the public eye, especially at a government meeting, wouldn’t you want to be interpreted as being serious about your religion, not “ceremonial”?

    Are cities across the nation now going to be forced to allow anyone with any suggestion that their religion needs to be heard at local government meetings to have to have pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, and even possibly satanists to stand in line to get up in front of the gathering to offer their religious specific prayers?

    If anyone other than a Christian leader is NOT allowed to lead a public prayer, how is that NOT an attempt at establishing a state-sponsered religion? Where does this end? How can these elderly and near elderly men NOT see what possible flood gate they have opened?

    To say I am disappointed in this decision does not begin explain how I feel about this issue and how wrong headed these men are in their thinking; that it is no “big deal” to most people? How utterly clueless can these justices be?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 21

  3. shelworth says:

    Everyone please bow your heads and, Hey look, a quarter!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

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