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Supreme Court upholds prayer at town council meetings

Supreme Court upholds prayer at town council meetings

Decision this morning from the U.S. Supreme Court:

From Reuters:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right of government entities across the United States to allow sectarian prayers prior to public meetings.

The court said on a 5-4 vote that the town of Greece in New York state did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on government endorsement of religion by allowing prayers before its monthly meetings.

In a decision that is likely to guide how local governments throughout the United States handle the question, the court said that officials in Greece did not violate the law when picking prayer-givers, who were overwhelmingly Christian.

Even the plaintiffs challenging the practice in the Rochester, New York, suburb of 100,000 people, conceded that some types of nonsectarian prayers were permitted under the Constitution.

The difficulty facing the justices was how to decide how courts should consider when a prayer could violate the First Amendment, which requires the separation of church and state.

The court was divided along ideological lines, with the conservative wing of the court saying the prayers were acceptable, while the liberal justices said the practice violated the First Amendment.

Some additional details from CNN:

The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer.

Fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia went further, suggesting that even any “subtle pressure” that local citizens might feel would not be enough to ban such prayers.

In dissent, 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.”

You can read the full decision here.

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Comments

Poor little leftists. Since their religion IS government, they can’t tolerate any competition.

Although I must confess a certain sympathy for atheists and agnostics who do not believe in a given formulation for communication with Whomever It Is, I would respectfully offer them the following:

The prayer and words like the formulation “under God” in the Pledge make a very important point, namely that the State is subordinate to something else, call it what you will. This is to the advantage of non-believers, because they, too, want the State to be subject to something, even if nothing more than human individual conscience.

Come up with a better way to say it that “under God” or a prayer for Divine Guidance, and people will embrace it.

    tom swift in reply to Valerie. | May 5, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    The State is subordinate to something. The Constitution. That is an article of American faith; call it religion if you like.

    How much more subordination do you demand?

      platypus in reply to tom swift. | May 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

      The state is NOT subordinate to the constitution. There are parts where a state is subordinate to the constitution and parts where it is not. The latter is being nibbled away by loony leftist thug parasites.

        n.n in reply to platypus. | May 6, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        The superior parts of government fall under the Treasury Department’s expansive, seemingly unrestricted, mandate.

    n.n in reply to Valerie. | May 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Authentic agnostics are open-minded. They neither accept nor reject articles of faith. They certainly do not ridicule or otherwise belittle what exists outside their capacity to establish. An agnostic individual will further evaluate claims and discern the value of each based on its merits. So, an agnostic can adhere to a religion (i.e. moral philosophy) while not sharing its underlying or originating faith.

Constitution, Bill of Rights:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

‘Allowing’ a public place prayer to take place is the free exercise of religion. And, what IS being condoned is free speech and freedom of religion. Any person listening is free to choose to listen or not. There is no coercion to accept the religion. They can even plug their ears.

Atheism is actually becoming the belief system and practice (aka religion) that is being condoned more and more in public places.

Emperor Penguin | May 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Lefties, leave my religion alone. We can pray at a meeting if we want to.

No matter how much the “seperation of church and state” crowd frets, public officials having a prayer does not amount to the establishment of a state religion.

Finally the court get one correct with regard to the state and religion.

It is really disconcerting to see these 5-4 votes over and over again, especially on issues like this, that seem to be common sense. We are so close to reversing everything this country stands for.

We need to do this in Iran they need Jesus too

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion not freedom FROM religion.

This is one of those outcomes that springs from amending the Constitution by Judicial Fiat rather than the proper amendment process. The language is simple: CONGRESS shall make no law.

It says NOTHING about the States, which have the proper jurisdiction to regulate speech, religion and morality under the concept of regulating morals.

The Founding Fathers weren’t particularly fussed about States having a “State religion.” They made no particular noise about it, and largely though of it as a “state’s right’s” issue and left it alone.

As a note, Connecticut had a state religion until 1818, and Massachusetts had a state religion until 1833.

But, the Justices, in their ~infinite~ wisdom (cough), decided that they should incorporate part of the Bill of Rights to apply against State action, as well as Federal Action. Unfortunately they STILL haven’t done so in any principled way, which is why we keep having fights like McDonald v. Chicago, and why we’re still fighting about the Slaughterhouse cases 150 years later.

ALL of our rights are on the verge of being abolished. Four Justices are actively trying to eliminate them, along with virtually the entire Democrat Party.

Anyone that sits out an election, passing over a chance to vote against a Democrat, is contributing to the end of our freedoms.

    platypus in reply to Aarradin. | May 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Not to mention that the older you get, the more sensual it is to vote against the donkey party.

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