Supreme Court gives public prayer a blessing
May 5, 2014
The 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.”