Three cheers for the Supreme Court!
>>"The justice said Monday there are differences between the two
situations, including ...the fact that attendees at the council meeting may step
out of the room if they do not like the prayer."I.e. "If you
don't like it, walk out of the room for sixty seconds. Just because you
don't like what people are saying doesn't mean you can stop them from
saying it." That's possibly the most commonsense thing I've seen
come out of the courts in a long time.
About time. It appears that the oft maligned and mis-interpreted
"Establishment Clause" is finally being interpreted with a little common
sense. Too bad they won't take the case on the Highway Patrol crosses. We
still have a long way to go.
Good ruling, though in public meetings efforts should be made to be inclusive,
to pick people to pray from a variety of faiths.In education
especially we have lost a lot of wisdom. Cirriculum has been dumbed down in my
lifetime. I've noticed this in math. I have benefited from prayer. I
believe if those who make public policy will pray for wisdom, they will receive
it, and our seemingly endless efforts to improve education can finally bear
The Court got it right. I just wish the Court hadn't taken
prayer out of schools. We can easily see what has happened to schools since
Justice Kennedy appears to be of two minds. He states that government should
not be involved in evaluating the content of prayer because it could lead to
legislatures requiring "chaplains to redact the religious content from their
message in order to make it acceptable for the public sphere." In 1992 he
rules that prayers at a high school commencement are unconstitutional because of
the age of the participants. In other words, it is okay to have prayers in
public meetings, but not at another kind of public meeting, and the government
must determine what is in violation of the establishment clause. This should
have been a 9-0 ruling, just as the 1992 case should have been. Public prayer
in public places is not a violation of the establishment clause - although it
could be considered a violation of the legally fictitious dogma of
"separation of church and state."
Re: "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are
ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions."Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.And,
Kennedy's opinion illustrates his visual acuity is still severely impaired
by its repeated assertion that public prayers are inoffensive because
they're "ceremonial." Many are, no doubt, but to make that a pillar
upon which his opinion rests will likely encourage secularists to argue the
Supreme Court has set up some new "ceremoniality" requirement. That
would gut both the Establishment and the Free Exercise clauses of the First
Amendment.Iconoclastic atheists will soon be listening closely to
public prayers, examining them for any actual, heartfelt content. Then,
they'll sue both the city and the cleric for any language violative of the
new "ceremoniality" requirement they've now discovered in the
penumbra of the First Amendment.It's a common, well-worn
liberal trick.The tradition the Court should be protecting is
reverent deference to, and non-intervention in religious belief and observance,
notwithstanding some thin-skinned, litigious liberal or atheist may brand such
public decency noxious.
Another 5 to 4 decision...But in 1992..."...Kennedy
himself was the author an opinion in 1992 that held that a Christian prayer
delivered at a high school graduation did violate the Constitution. The justice
said Monday there are differences between the two situations, including the age
of the audience and the fact that attendees at the council meeting may step out
of the room if they do not like the prayer...".Differences?orHair splitting?No then...Yes now?Activist Judge?Depends on whose ox is being gored?Exactly.
So much for the separation of church and state. But since this is
what Christians wanted, let's make sure we have humanist atheist chaplains
offer invocations, and let's make sure Satanists offer a few invocations.
Let's remind Christians why we need a wall of separation between church and
Wow, lame. Really, really lame.
Score one for religious freedom! We need more of this.
During the Millenium, our Savior will be crowned King of Kings of all the earth.
I wonder if He will find it necessary to establish a wall between church and
state? During that glorious reign, when we file a petition to our King,
won't that be considered a prayer?
>>Differences? or Hair splitting? No then...Yes now?Maybe
his view on the subject "evolved.">>...let's
make sure we have humanist atheist chaplains offer invocations, and let's
make sure Satanists offer a few invocations. Let's remind Christians why we
need a wall of separation between church and state.First, if
there's an atheist humanist chaplain or a Satanist on the council, sure,
why not? Such a person on the council would show that there are enough people in
the community comfortable with those beliefs--assuming the councilperson fairly
represented him/herself during the election--to justify that viewpoint having
such expression in the meetings. And if they didn't fairly represent
themselves during the election, offering such a prayer would be an eye-opening
experience for their constituents.I'm not sure to whom an
atheist humanist chaplain would pray, but the event would be enlightening.Second, abolishing all mention of God and religion from government
isn't a "wall of separation" between church and state; it's de
facto atheism enforced upon all participants in government.
This is not a win for religious freedom but rather a win for Christian
oppression. As a Christian myself, I am free to pray at any point during the
day - there has never been a limitation on my own individual ability to pray.
Further, if a prayer must occur, the act should not take place in a government
building with the justification that "those who don't like it can
leave." Rather, if you want to have a prayer then you should leave the
building, have our prayer outside among those who willingly want to participate,
and then you can return to the building once finished. The onus should not be
on the ones who do not participate to leave, that should be on the individuals
who want to pray.Finally, to distill this 5-4 decision down it
appears that the majority's justification is "tradition" which is
historically the weakest justification used for nearly all oppressive acts in
our Nation: Slavery? Tradition. Oppression of women? Tradition. Denial of
marriage equality? Tradition. Etc... etc.... Time and time again,
"tradition" is proven to be code for bigotry and oppression. This
ruling will hopefully be overturned in the near future.
Judge Roy Moore must be so proud. If you don't know who he is, Google him.
Prayer is free speech. Free speech is a Constitution right. End of
The Court had the difficult task of balancing Constitutional Rights. On a topic
like this there is no perfect way to do that, but I think it was a reasonable
Re: "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are
ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions."Now
if we could only get Kennedy (and other judges) to keep 'marriag'e as
that between a man and a woman-- because to do so is just as
"ceremonial" as prayer is.
The debate over prayer as part of public activities, pledges or on money might
be solved if we defined God for LEGAL PURPOSES as "the force that caused the
universe to exist". Even agnostics have to admit the universe came to be --
albeit random organization. While the details of who or what our personal God is
may differ, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other groups agree the universe was
created by a higher power. If we defined the word "God" as that force,
the arguments over different beliefs would go away. I can trust in my God, you
can trust in yours. The point is to pledge or seek a force greater than
ourselves to give prospective and weight to things of importance.Removing the notion of a higher power from public discourse so people
won't be offended by your interpretation of God is the ultimate in bigotry.
Religious freedom? Just for Christians, it seems.I'm a
religious guy. But frankly, I am tired of religion being used for political
purposes. I would vote for no more prayers in government functions.
Hopefully now we can get same sex marriage legal.
@mr glassSatanists huh? So you see no difference in asking for
insight and wisdom from the embodiment of all that is good (God) and asking for
whatever it is one would ask for from the embodiment of evil and lies
(satan)?You know this isn't about being "fair" to every
school of thought, nor should it be. Being "fair" is just another reason
to whine by those that don't like something. The fact is having a prayer of
that sort is quite harmless, whether it actually does any good or not is up for
debate I suppose but no one is harmed by the offering, no one. If as
the atheists believe there is no God then it means nothing and the atheist is no
worse for it being given and only mildly inconvenienced if at all. As for other
religious persuasions, well why would any be offended by a prayer, I doubt any
are. It is only the secularists that are offended by it and they simply shoose
to be offended as nothing about a prayer is truly offensive is it? Such silly
people the professional offense takers are.
>>Religious freedom? Just for Christians, it seems.Why?
There's no reason the same judicial reasoning couldn't apply to
prayers or other religious utterances offered by adherents of other faiths. For
example, the US Senate invites religious leaders from many faiths to come in and
open Senate sessions with prayers, not just Christians.
It sounds like Justice Kennedy just couldn't bring himself to let this one
go. "Well, it has always been this way, and it's really kind of
meaningless anyway...But it's kind of nice, you know, so let's keep it
this way."Not exactly a voice of conviction. But given the
failure rate of prayer, he was probably right to call it "ceremonial."
@ mhenshaw, a couple of comments. There is an odd differentiation with the
prayers at the Senate/House. Second, this decision will essentially require a
monitoring of the content of the prayers offered. Talk about a loss of
religious freedom! On the surface, religious folks may like this decision, but
if they think it through, this could be an utter disaster and an erosion of
Karen R. ,How do you measure the failure rate of prayer?
@Duckhunter;I guess the Christians and others who object to prayers
to Satan can just step out of the room during the prayer.@jeanie;I measure it with how many prayers have been answered. In my 50+ years
the number is still 0.
When a non-believer is among the people when such a prayer is being given, is
that person expected to cease personal activity and observe the proper decorum?
And if that is so, is that person being required to participate in the prayer
ceremony?If the person participates in the prayer ceremony of a
different religion could it be an infringement on his personal religion?
Re: "I measure it with how many prayers have been answered. In my 50+ years
the number is still 0."Sounds like you're not doing it
correctly. Or at all.
procuradorfiscalTooele, UTRe: "I measure it with how
many prayers have been answered. In my 50+ years the number is still 0."Sounds like you're not doing it correctly. Or at all.---------------God won't answer prayers if you don't do
it correctly? What kind of a God is that?
Christianity is the foundation of this country.Without the
foundation, people can't decipher between good and bad.Our
nation will crumble.
Re: "God won't answer prayers if you don't do it correctly? What
kind of a God is that?"The very best kind.I doubt
that God is fooled by callow or disingenuous partisans, who disparage prayer, or
even pray "to be seen of men," so they can brag about how their prayers
are never answered, despite all evidence to the contrary.Nor are
we.That He lovingly blesses their lives, along with those of
billions of real, honest people throughout the world, in trillions of
oft-unacknowledged, but very real ways -- even when we don't deserve it, or
when some of His children inexplicably dedicate the lives He created for them to
sowing hate and disrespect for Him -- simply goes without saying.But, it does need challenging, when someone attempts to misrepresent His love
for us, or to suggest to others that He's not there or doesn't care.
Okay - so when a follower of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" demands
saying a "prayer" in the Utah Legislature (?) We're all good with
Praise the Lord!The government shouldn't interfere with my right to
pray at government meetings!Praying in public will only bring more people
to the Lord.When people hear my prayer to the Lord, they will accept him
as their Saviour.That's what it says in the Bible: Pray loudly so
people can hear you, and know that you are blessed by Him.
@ JeanieGoogle "studies on the efficacy of prayer."I used to pray when I was a believer and I almost always got answers. I
don't believe now, but I still pray, so to speak. I don't call it
prayer because I associate that with a belief in gods, and I don't believe
in gods, so...But I still go to that same place in my mind and I
still get answers. It's just that now I understand they're coming
from me. They always were.
I applaud the decision, although I'm bothered that 4 of the justices
dissented. The act of banning prayer at public meetings would be a double
violation of the constitution: it would prevent the free exercise of religion,
and it would institute atheism as the state religion. And yes, atheism is a
religion. See that "ism" on the end?Those atheists who wish
to be included have the same option as everyone else, which is to apply to be
the one offering the prayer, or, in their case, not offering a prayer. I have no
problem with that. Citizens of different faiths, including atheism, should be
selected in the same proportion as those faiths exist in the represented body of
citizens. People pretending to be Satanists or worshippers of the Flying
Spaghetti Monster for the sole purpose of mocking religion and religious
believers need not apply.
Utes Fan: You can pray any time you want. That is free speech. End of
discussion.If a public meeting prays to one god, it must pray to all
(may you be blessed by his noodley appendage). Civic leaders mandating a
specific religion's pray is tacit promotion of that religion. It's
I feel very honored to state that in my two terms as Mayor, continuing a
decades-old tradition, every council meeting began with prayer. I hope I never
see the day when this right is denied due to political correctness. Furthermore,
I would not be offended if any individual not of the Christian faith chose to
remain outside the chamber until after the prayer. For the record, if someone of
a non-Christian faith desired to offer the prayer to Allah or another supreme
being according to their belief, I certainly respect that desire and would not
@BebyebeI think you missed the point of how and why prayers are
appropriate in the public arena. Using public "prayer" as a means to
mock the beliefs of the citizenry would not be in keeping with any of the hows
@ PopsPLEASE! Atheism is not a religion. To illustrate this I will
provide some quotes.Atheism is a religion in the same way that not
collecting stamps is a hobby, not kicking a kitten is animal abuse, off is a TV
channel, bald is a hair color. See it's impossible for atheism to be a
religion because a religion by it's very definition is the worship of a
higher being. Since atheists don't believe in a higher being that sort of
negates the whole "religion" thing. Also ISM at the end of
the word does not constitute religion. Ism is a suffix that forms abstract nouns
of action, state, condition, or doctrine. So Atheism can become a state policy
but not a religion. I know people think they are being clever when they say
atheism is a religion hahahaha. When in actuality all it shows is that the
person doesn't understand the English language.
RE: The Wraith.“The wrath=(anger,orge)of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in
unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them;
for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His
invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly
seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without
excuse." Romans 1:18-20. The Cosmological argument,General
@donnUh... okay. I'm not really sure how that is a response to
anything I've said but... thanks I guess?
As an atheist, I will not participate in the superstitious "ceremony"
called prayer. Instead, I will loudly and conspicuously carry out alternatives
during these prayers in public meetings.The Supreme Court narrowly
missed on this decision. It may still be legal for Christians to force their
prayers into the public sphere "to be seen of men", but there is no law
saying we have to be quiet during the religious charade.I invite all
who agree to make loud public noise during such prayers, as an expression of
free speech. Do not let religious hegemony silence us!
Haha. What, a great idea, Scientist. Really, should I be required to remain
silent, or leave the area, when others are practicing their religion in a public
space? Of course not. Perhaps I will make a phone call the next time this
happens to me, or carry on a conversation with the person next to me. It's
brilliant a brilliant idea, Scientist. And if anyone asks me to be silent,
I'll say that I'll be silent when we get back to the business at hand,
the business of the meeting. After all, they are doing their religious thing in
a public place, that I have just as much right to be at, and they are taking
time out to do their thing, so I might as we'll take the time to do my
thing. I absolutely love your idea. Nothing overtly disruptive. Just
a phone call, or a chat with a neighbor, maybe noisily thumb through the pages
of a newspaper. Again, nothing overt. What are they gonna do? Arrest
you? I would love to see that. Arrested for taking during prayer. Hahaha. This is an idea that needs to go viral.