And then there is the matter of what's in the prayer. In conservative Utah
the content of prayers is going to reflect LDS political conservatism. What if
someone in attendance objects? If they express their objections they will be
shunned. If they don't express their reservations they will have been
There is no "establishment clause" in the Constitution. "Congress
shall make no law pertaining to an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof;" The 1st Amendment did not say "the
establishment". It said "an establishment". Those two words make all
the difference in the world. "An establishment" is a preexisting
religion. It has already been established. It exists. Government cannot
dictate religios doctrine. Holding prayer is both free speech and
the free exercise of our religious rights. If we have become so intolerant of
thought that hearing someone pray offends us, then we have become religious
I can't believe the DN printed this piece, but I'm glad they did.Mr. Davis got it right.
Agreed.Those reading this newspaper, and living in Utah, and
probably have never lived anywhere else, and mostly likely are LDS will see this
and cheer it as a "good" thing.BUT, Having lived
Outside of this imanginary bubble world, This is a bad thing.I've lived in the Bible belt - were "Mormons" are viewed as equal
to Satan worshippers.I've lived in areas that the majority was
Spiritual, but not religous - were Mormons are viewed as intolerant
puritians.I've lived in Utah - were most NON-Mormons are
constantly on guard and on the defense 24/7.I've also served in
the Military, which is the best reflected cross section of America.Sometimes we banded together as brothers in arms in prayer - like a football
huddle.Baptists, Mormons, Jews, Quackers, Muslims, and
Buddahists.We talked of God, our common Father in Heaven - but were
instructed to be very careful to never use the terms - Jesus, YHWH or JHVH,
Allah, or Ganesha, Shiva, Krishna or Rama.Like the Founding Fathers
used the generic term - "Creator".But some are pushing an
agenda -- THAT I oppose.
It may surprise you that some people have actual real and heart felt belief in a
higher power and feel that acknowledging his/her existence and help might
actually help in the governing process. Since your worldview is apparently so
superior to those people maybe a little tolerance should be exercised.
@Mike Richards 1:24 a.m. May 7, 2014Once again you show that you
don't really understand the Constitution. The term "an
establishment" also means "an act of establishing". In other words,
either creating a religion or establishing that one religion has preference over
another religion or over no religion. The government is not allowed to do
either. You're right that government cannot dictate religions
doctrine; however, it can dictate what religions practices are legal (example --
the ban on the underage plural marriage promoted by Warren Jeffs and his group).
Government in the United States is, as it should be, secular in nature. Trying
to impose religion on it is not right, and should not be allowed.
Mr. Davis in the first paragraph makes it seem as if a "religious
ritual" is like making people sit through a 2 hour Temple session. A prayer
is only about 30 seconds and anyone can tolerate that if they are ADULT human
beings who are NOT LOOKING to be OFFENDED. If all of our public activities are
supposed to be Offense free, then we would need to take away the U.S. Flag,
because a lot of people in the world see that as offensive too. There are times
when the FEELINGS of the minority should just be ignored, because there is and
always will be some person who wants to take offense at anything done in the
public interest. No holidays, no National Anthem, no Pledge of Allegiance, no
flags, no team mascots, no nothing that might offend someone. Where do we draw
the line? I say way back at expecting people to be tolerant and adult and not
acting offended at every little trifle they don't agree with. What's
wrong with that?
@happy2bhere: "A prayer is only about 30 seconds and anyone can tolerate
that if they are ADULT human beings who are NOT LOOKING to be OFFENDED."So I am assuming you would have to problem with a Muslim or a witch
offering a prayer in a public meeting? You would defend both, and tell the
adults in the room to deal with it?
I don't think the Supreme Court decision established a State Religion... it
just didn't PROHIBIT prayer.===A moment of silence
would be fine with me. It's about the same thing. A prayer to open the
meeting is not intended to offend anybody. It is intended to give people a
moment to reflect and get in the right frame of mind. Whether a
moment of silence, or someone actually offers a prayer... it's all the same
to me. Because I always offer a little prayer in my own heart in these
situations. So it doesn't offend me at all if the person praying
isn't of my faith (or my party).But the Government should
absolutely NOT be in the business of PREVENTING PRAYER... anywhere... any
time.... Any faith... ====Everyone on the LEFT seems to
assume that prayers are used to offend... where does that mind-set come from?
Is that what THEY would use an opportunity to pray for??====Prayer is not intended to offend anybody.Maybe
there are a few people who would abuse it. But do you take away
EVERYBODY's right... because it may be abused .0001% of the time???
Nothing requires anybody to participate in the prayer. The ruling only allows
it to happen. As a surgeon I have often been invited to participate in family
prayers before I operate on a family member. The prayers/devotionals that were
close to my own form of worship were comfortable, those that were not close were
less so (and there have been some very unique ones). Nevertheless, I have been
respectful of their beliefs and have participated in them. And we have all been
the better for it.
@10CC,Yesterday on this same topic you said, "Slavery itself was
sanctioned by religion here (meaning Utah)"...I hope that was a
mis-speak.From Joseph Smith (the beginning) till today... the church
has NEVER endorsed SLAVERY.For a time some didn't receive the
priesthood... but that's not "Slavery". No LDS Prophet I know of
has endorsed SLAVERY...===RE: "In Kansas they
outlawed Sharia law, but Christian prayer is OK"...There's
a difference between wanting Sharia Law... and wanting to be free to pray if you
want. One is imposing your laws governing all areas of life on all
people. The other is ALLOWING people the Constitutionally protected freedom to
pray if they want!The government doesn't give us the right to
pray... They can only take it away.Why are you so intent on taking
it away??====Has a prayer in a meeting started a single
war? No... That's just pretense.Intolerance HAS caused
wars... but prohibiting prayer in meetings doesn't end that! You would
have to outlaw religion altogether.Do you intend to do THAT
eventually?Because that is what it would take (not just outlawing
prayer in public meetings).
Why are people afraid to ask God for help? My understanding of God, as a child,
is much different than my understanding of God as an adult. Should I have
waited until I was twenty to pray. How about waiting until I was sixty? At
what point would my prayer not offend someone who didn't believe in God?
We are the UNITED States. How do we become UNITED? When
politicians try to divide us by teaching envy and strife and greed, how can the
people offset that disharmony? I think that praying before meetings invites
into that meeting a spirit or sense of harmony. When we ask Him who lives in
complete harmony with all things, seen and unseen, to assist us, He will help.
But, He, who gave us agency, will not enter unless invited, leaving us in our
UN-UNITED state for as long as we wish, even if it destroys us.
@marxist,Why would anyone object if a prayer is offered, and it reflects
some beliefs of the community's predominate religion, or conservative
politics???All you need is a little tolerance... and you will get
through it with no damage.====Not all my family is LDS.
When we go to their house for dinner... I don't get offended because their
prayer on the food may be different than I may give! That's just absurd!
WHY would it offend me?====Just because someone attends
and decides to object to the fact that the local culture is reflected in the
prayer... should that one person who decides to be offended be able to restrict
the majority in the room from being able to pray?I don't think
so.They should just take this moment to have their own prayer in
their heart... and move on...That would be the "Tollerant"
thing to do.Not insist that because one person decides to be
offended NOBODY can pray....====I am never offended when
someone of another faith offers a prayer (and it happens frequently)... why the
Left is so offended... I'll NEVER understand.
Richard Davis is absolutely right, and the five-justice majority was absolutely
wrong.When a government entity places prayer on the official agenda,
that is an establishment of religion. When a person is invited to present the
"opening exercise" and chooses to pray, that is simply free speech and
is not an establishment of religion.As a Christian of the LDS
persuasion, I have long been disappointed that in these debates over public
prayer, crosses on public property, Ten Commandments monuments, Sunday closings,
etc., the primary instigators of divisiveness seem to be those who call
themselves Christians.By the way, in terms of the Constitution being
"divinely inspired," I believe the most inspired part of the
Constitution may be the provision to amend it, which allows us to correct the
parts that were not divinely inspired.
I will believe this is a religious liberty issue, and not a "We are the
Christian Majority issue" when SmallTown, USA allows a muslim to open a
meeting with a prayer.I would be willing to bet that if a muslim
asked to give the prayer in the town of Athens, it would be denied.This is a case of people wanting to wear their religion on their sleeves and
not in their hearts. Something they can do in public to make them feel good
about themselves.Remember the uproar a few years ago when a prayer
was offered on the 4th of July celebration in Spanish? That was just a few
years ago and in our very own State.
Re: ". . . perhaps it is possible to honor God and the Constitution at the
same time."Of course it is. But we'll have to just stop
listening to iconoclastic, thumb-in-the-eye atheists, as well as liberal
politicians and academics in the professional victimization industry, to make it
happen.The Constitution protects us from an overreaching,
unaccountable government establishing a state religion, as in England, Sweden,
or Iran. It also protects us from the establishment of a Christian-hating
secular church, along the lines of the one liberals and atheists constantly
insist we must establish, in order to please them.The Constitution
does not require us to tiptoe around atheists and academics, for fear that
something so integrated into our lives and society might give offense to someone
desperately seeking it.While academics bloviate over the issue and
atheists and disingenuous "Wiccans" sit and spin, real people will
continue to tolerate and respect the sincere religious beliefs of others, trying
our best to get along, in spite of academic and political advice to feel grossly
victimized and lash out.
Making up ideas that don't exist to perpetuate a concept that is not
reality. "I would be willing to bet that if a Muslim asked to give the
prayer in the town of Athens, it would be denied."The real facts
are they did seek other faiths to participate. When the two who brought the
suite were asked to identify any other faiths in the community that they could
ask to participate they could not identify one.
I disagree with Mr. Davis. Governments don't have to have prayers before
meetings. It is not a requirement. Those that choose to are not establishing
any religion or any religious preference. If they ask someone to give a prayer,
then fine. I've been in the Senate and heard the Senate chaplain give his
obviously Christian prayer. This happens every day at the opening on Senate
business. Sometimes others are invited to give the prayer. No one has really
crabbed about that and it is the same thing as what happens on the local level.
Give it a rest. Those that want to play the victim will always do so. My
advise? Ignore them.
Meanwhile -- on the other side of the world, Americans are fighting and
dying to keep Praying OUT of the Government!
Wow procuradorfiscal that is some major league stereotyping , not even AAA stuff
but some real impressive professional game. You managed to lump all atheists,
liberals, and academics, into a single group of single minded idiots out to ruin
you day, rain on your parade, and destroy your country. Then as a nice little
pièce de résistance you managed to throw in the idea that all Wiccans
are not only disingenuous but also made it obvious that in your mind Wiccan
isn't even worthy of being a religion at all. Nicely done sir, nicely
done.I would like to point out though that as an atheist, liberal
academic I don't really care about your prayers. This ruling doesn't
bother me at all really - I'll just do what I always do when someone prays;
be very respectful while making fun of the prayer in my head. This is actually
how most atheists feel - but hey if the stereotyping helps you feel better keep
at it.There is one thing I don't get though. Why is it so
imperative to some people to have a prayer before a zoning committee meeting?
@Mike Richards"There is no "establishment clause" in the
Constitution." Yeah, there is. "An
establishment" is a preexisting religion." No, it
isn't."Holding prayer is both free speech and the free
exercise of our religious rights."So, you'll be okay with
the following invocation at the next South Jordon City Council Meeting, then?ONE in spirit,We invoke thee!Hail, Amit-abha of the
world!O would that our merciful teacher, Sakya-muni,And our great
Father Amit-abha Would now descend and be present with us.Would that the
perfect compassion-ate heart would now draw near And receive our offerings.May the omnipotent and omniscient Holy SpiritCome to us while we recite
these divine sentences.
@Open Minded Mormon, "Meanwhile -- on the other side of the world,Americans are fighting and dying to keep Praying out of the Government!"
But you have told us over and over it was about oil. The liberal stick is it has
been about oil. I can't think of one case where the US has said
you can't pray in your Islamic governments . On the contrary our current
administration goes out of his way to defend Islamic governments repression of
This is how I would summarize the comments to this article: Conservatives: I
know I like prayer. I therefore am ok with prayer at public meetings and I have
no idea why anyone would think differently from me. Liberals: I may or may not
believe in prayer, but I can understand why someone who thinks differently from
me might have a different reaction than I do. Most conservative vs. liberal
discussions end up this way. Conservative: I don't need health insurance,
so why would I care if anyone else has it. Liberal: I am concerned that there
are people in our society that don't have access to health care.
Conservative: I hate giving any of my money away, so I will fight paying taxes
with every ounce of my breath. Liberal: It takes money to have a civilized
society, so I am ok with paying my taxes. The conservative view is, almost
without exception, the most self centered. And, of course, the first to loudly
proclaim its Christianity.
The sad part is this decision has not only NOT resolved anything, it will
embolden the "Murica are a Christian country" buffoons to push their
brand of bible thumping in the town square at the exclusion of everyone else. My
money says we'll see an increase in Church-State cases in the courts, not
Coming from a country that derives its "unalienable rights" from God. I
find it very appropriate that we allow prayers, no matter what denomination,
happen before our government meetings.
RameumptomThe only thing missing will be the repeated prayer of
American exceptionalism.We're #1,Thnking God for making
us better than everybody else,Opening mock others who aren't as
blessed as we are,And then go home to our materialist, me, myself, and I
houses, cars, and good forutune -- ignoring -- even trampling -- the poor, sick
and the needy all around us.
Two comments:First, I was wondering how Mike Richards would
misinterpret words in the Constitution to oppose Prof. Davis's
well-reasoned opinion. Now I know.Second, I find it fascinating that
the conservatives who tend to be up in arms about too much government in their
lives are just fine with having the government favor one religion over another.
As long as it's their Christian religion, it's okay, but if a city
government were to promote some other faith, well, that would be meddling.
Re: "Nicely done sir, nicely done."Why, thank you. It's
nice to be appreciated.But, to your question -- "Why is it so
imperative . . . to have a prayer before a zoning committee meeting?"The honest, sincere political servant and leader, at all levels, seeks
to do the right thing. Invoking God's help, seeking a portion of His wisdom
in making the right decision, on issues ranging from zoning, to those with
geopolitical import, is a wise tradition. Even for atheists. Just on the off
chance -- as we assert -- He is there, is listening, and desires to bless His
children by answering their unfeigned petitions.I freely admit that
the sincere political servant and leader is a rare fixture on today's
American political landscape, but even if the senatorial opening prayer is
nothing to most listeners but a quixotic reminder of things lost, it can't
hurt to be reminded. Maybe a heart will be softened. Maybe the odd lunatic
liberal political buy-off can be avoided.Or maybe, just maybe, the
occasional politician will seek to do the right thing. And be inspired by God to
Well in that case procuradorfiscal I have a list of over 10,000 different gods.
We really ought to start praying to all of them, asking each one for wisdom you
know just on the off chance that they are up there listening and desiring to
bless their creations.
Let's see...This Supreme Court has -- Selected GW
Bush as President by hanging chads, Granted Constitutional
"rights" to Corporate entities, Legalized unlimited Bribery into
our Democratic election process, and Allows the practice of Religous
Prayer in our Official Government Meetings.amazing....simply,
@WonderThanks for your evaluation of conservatives and liberals. It
may be the best I've ever read.
Those who are insecure seem to object to prayer. They want to be the most
important, most educated, most intelligent object in the universe. Praying
reminds them that there might, just might, be someone much more intelligent than
they. That worries them. If their voice (of absolute authority) is questioned,
their grip on us weakens and their ability to control us is in jeopardy. Kind people allow others to express themselves, even in the form of a
prayer. Religious people, if they really believe in the God who is behind the
scenes of their religion, have charity for all and tolerance for anyone who has
different ideas. On the other hand, religious bigots are afraid
that allowing anyone to pray might cause people to think too much about religion
and that if they start thinking, they might decide to study other religions.God is our Father. He loves all of us. He askes us to ask Him for
help. I don't think that he's overly concerned how that plea for
guidance is articulated. He will lead us to truth - if we ask.
Of course the BYU professor would disagree with the official LDS church
statement praising the decision. And he knows more than the SCOTUS,
he is after all, a liberal poli-sci teacher and a higher up in the local dem
party.airnaut,were (sic) Mormons are viewed equal to Satan
worshippers – like in some east King County churches?Darrel,“I would be willing to bet that if a muslim asked to give
the prayer in the town of Athens, it would be denied.” Why do you refer
to a Muslim as “it”?LDS lib,This Supreme Court has
-- Selected GW Bush as President by hanging chadsNice
revisionist history. The dems were trying to elect gore by hanging chads.While haranguing the SCOTUS for their decisions, why did you not list
their poor decision on Obamacare?
@ J. ThompsonYour analysis of why people object to prayer in
government meeting quite literally could not have been more wrong. It ventures
into the realm of being so unrelated to the topic that it's not even wrong.
Like answering purple to a question of what is 2 + 2. While I personally am not
that bothered by this ruling I will say that I don't think prayers should
be a part of any government function simply because that's how interpret
the constitution. I don't need prayer to remind there are people who
believe in god, I have all those pushy Christians in America who never stop
talking about it. Which leads me to think, based on your definition of Religious
people, that there must not be that many in the world. Because religion, if it
has shown the world nothing else, has proven to be the most intolerant idea man
has ever devised. Why do I say that? Because every single religion knows without
a doubt that it's the only right one - and obviously that means all people
need to be converted or risk an eternity of punishment. Not really tolerance for
people with different ideas.
to The WraithIts like they say those who bloviate, pontificate,
yell, screech, & holler the loudest and longest are trying convince 1
@J Thompson"Those who are insecure seem to object to
prayer." You obviously have no issue with your brand of
Christian prayer in the public square, lack lack empathy for those of us who do
not share your belief, and, therefore, have no clue as to why we object. Let me
help put things in perspective. Have you ever been threatened with harm for
refusing to stand for the singing of "God bless America" during a 7th
inning stretch at a ball game? Have you ever been told a government promotion
was out of the question if you refused to acknowledge the existence of a
"God?" Have you ever been directed by a representative of the US
Government that on Sunday you can either go to Church or stay behind and clean
up everyone else's mess? I have experienced all this and more. There is
this notion that those who do not believe in the majority held mythology are
deemed less that full citizens and not worthy of participation in affairs of the
states. That, J Thompson, is why we object to prayer in the public square.
2 Bits:Yes, I did not mean "here" to be Utah, but the
southern US states, where slavery was legal and slaves were property.The example of Sharia Law is one of our government not *prohibiting* the
implementation of religious law, and the apparent opportunity for a local
majority - say in Deerborn Michigan which has a very large Islamic population)
to freely choose to implement Sharia Law, with perhaps even the proviso that it
only applies to Muslims in Deerborn.How will the Supremes handle a
fundamentalist wanting to offer a prayer at a city council meeting by
sacrificing a lamb? Will the Supremes pick & choose which
religions are OK for prayer and what specific prayer ceremonies are acceptable?
Doesn't this open the Pandora's Box of government favoring particular
LDS Liberal You seem to be pretty judgemental about people with
wealth. Farmington is not exactly a cheap place to live.The
Wraith I wonder if you realize that on the other side of all those
"pushy Christians" are the pushy anti religious types who are always
trying to find ways to stop any religious expression in America. Not much
tolerance coming from them is there. And I suspect most of them are liberals.
@lost in DC"it" was referring to the request, not the
person. I apologize for any confusion that may have caused.
This is a done deal at this point. The Supreme Court has ruled which means there
are no more appeals to be made. So why all the continuing bantering back and
forth as to whether it is the right decision or not. Regardless of what anyone
or everyone says, nothing can or will be changed at this point. Let's
move on to things yet to be determined where opinions could actually make a
The court - this time - seems to understand that prayer is not an act to
establish a religion. The Founders were dealing with their own experiences
wherein the state (government) required one religion to be established as the
state religion (think England) when they wrote this into the Constitution. The
Founders must have believed that state established religion was akin to tyranny.
Prayer is not tyranny. I have lived outside of the "bubble"
of Utah. When public prayers were offered outside of Utah, they were tolerated
by those that did not subscribe to the particular religious affiliation of the
speaker of the prayer. Rather, those in attendance are edified by the
commonality of expression of hope in a higher power - and the implication that
there is a higher authority than those present in the meeting that all must
answer to.Those that are offended by public expressions of a hope in
a higher, more loving and everlasting being, might try to work on the concept of
compassion and tolerance.
I'll believe in Mike Richards and some of the other posters'
convictions when I see you protest for a Muslim, Jew, or satanist right to pray
at a government meeting.Until then, it's nothing more than hot
happy2bhereWhile I certainly agree that there are pushy people on
both sides I just want to make something clear. The vast majority of people who
work to keep religion out of government are not anti-religion. In fact many are
very active in their religion. They work to keep government and religion
separate not because they are out to "stop any religious expression in
America" but are out to keep the wall of separation up because they believe
that's best for both religion and government. I am actually really tired of
the stereotype that anyone who believes in a wall of separation is really out to
destroy all religion and the country to boot. In fact the opposite is true, most
are really good people who truly believe they are helping to make America a
better place. You may not agree with their point of view and that's fine -
but stop thinking we are a bunch of degenerate religion hating evildoers out to
destroy everything you hold dear. If you talked to them you'd find that
most are very tolerant, nice, patriotic people.
airnautEverett, 00Having lived outside Utah for most of my
life, as have most of my acquaintances, it is quite obvious that your naivety
about Utah negates your opinions. Blanket haranguing the citizens of Utah is not
in the spirit on the DN comment policy.
I don't think they erred. The door has been opened. Everyone can come in.
@Furry1993@my_two_cents_worth@Kent C. DeForrestActually
Mike Richards interpreted the first amendment right.The modern
progressive interpretation, you all use, is wrong, and quite wrong.Read the first amendment as it is written:"Congress shall make
no law respecting an establishment of religion""respecting" - to respect or favor"an establishment of
religion", taken as whole as it properly should, is a church or religious
organization.It is about congress NOT making a law favoring a church
or religious organization.That is the correct and only
interpretation.Allowing prayer does none of those things,
prohibiting prayer is unconstitutional.The amendment is about what
congress can not do not what the people can do,.If the people want
to a prayer pray at a local public meeting they can.This professor
is quite wrong.It is scary and chilling when progressives want to
dictate what we the people can do in the public square.__@10CCAgain congress can not dictate prayers, or favor a church.The only thing this opens is more freedom of the people in religion,
speech, assembly, and conscience.No good policy can be based on
It's ironic that a political science professor would make an argument so
oblivious to the role of the judicial branch of the government.Professor Davis argues that the SC got it wrong but all of his arguments are
public policy arguments, not legal arguments. The closest he comes
to a legal argument is saying the decision "subtly reinforces the practice
of an established religion" but he rebuts his own assertion by arguing that
the decision was wrong because it might force citizens to sit through a wide
variety of prayers/religions ceremonies...hardly the establishment of any single
religion (or even any religion). It was the city council that made
the decision to have a prayer. The SC decision doesn't dictate that all
public meetings have to begin with prayer but only that the city council's
decision didn't violate the law.The professor's public
policy arguments are a fair critique of the city council's initial decision
to have a prayer (which I doubt I'd vote in favor of); those same arguments
are woefully inadequate to support an argument that the SC decision (which I
think was right on the mark) was wrong.
A fine editorial. I would add this. The real damage being done here is to
sincere and genuine religiosity. A meaningless, pro forma, innocuous
'prayer' before a public meeting communicates this message: that
prayer should be meaningless and rote, a civic ritual without genuine
I can't wait until southern Christians freak out when a Jew, Catholic, or
Muslim gives a prayer. Remember repubs, you built this. Now own it.
The Supreme Court did not error. Its ruling only meant that the constitution
doesn't prevent prayer at state and local meetings. .. it doesn't.
My suspicions of Richard Davis are confirmed. Another progressive liberal who
tolerates everything accept God! He does't want to offend anyone for fear
of being characterized as a religious person that believes, stands up for, and
understands the importance of His Principles for a civil society! As if wiping
out any mention of God will make our society more just! The liberals are the
most hypocritical, mind numbing group in America. If I were passing laws, I
would answer every one of their proposals in the exact same way Richard Davis
answered here: Minimum wage increase? No, that is unfair and offensive to the
Unions! SSM? No, that is offensive to the Mormons! Welfare payments? No,
that is offensive to the workers! Contraception? No, that offends the right to
life! Any new government program? No, that is clearly offensive to the tax
payer! But, hey, at least we can abort another million babies this year? We
certainly wouldn't want to offend those wonderful citizens that that nobly
excuse God from their lives but expel the whispers of an unborn child without a
second thought! That's the kind of Social Justice everyone can aspire to!
Why does every discussion related to religion and government dwell upon "the
establishment clause" and completely ignore the "free exercise
clause." It is altogether inappropriate for any branch of the government to
interfere with the free exercise of religious observance. The editorial seems
to suggest that the SCOTUS should have restricted the "free exercise" of
religion by outlawing prayer in public meetings. That would be
I find it surprising that a professor at BYU, which has such an outstanding
history and political science department, could get so mixed up about the basic
meaning of the establishment clause.Our founders had experienced the
tyranny of a state-mandated religion (by religion I mean a particular church)
and so the establishment clause was a much needed measure to prevent a repeat of
all those abuses.Not in a million years was that statement intended
to push the exercise of faith expressed publicly (such as prayers) out of the
governmental square - that was evident by the common practices of the time in
councils, government meetings, etc. One of the first things the founders did
after the US government was formed was appoint a chaplain. The real
subtle (and not so subtle) infringement on our basic rights is the hostility to
public expressions of faith, something badly needed today in the troubled times
we live in.
Samuel Adams, who has been called 'The Father of the American
Revolution' wrote The Rights of the Colonists in 1772, which stated:
"The rights of the colonists as Christians...may be best understood by
reading and carefully studying the institution of the Great Law Giver and Head
of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated
in the New Testament."
Well I disagree with the good professor. Christianity is not an established
religion, it is a religious belief. Mormonism and Catholicism are established
religions. Also, a prayer does not have to be "Christian" just because
it was uttered by a Christian. Many prayers to God do not close in the name of
Jesus or mention Jesus - such is common when Jews are present at public places
where prayers are uttered. The Supreme Court go this one right!
Lets look at this from another perspective. Tolerance. Those not wanting prayer
are asking those who to to be tolerant of thier belefs. What of my beliefs? Why
can't they be tolerant of the majoriites beliefs? I had surgery recently
and while in the hospital I had a representaive for a church other than my own
come in my room and ask to have a prayer with me. I agreed and while the prayer
was not done the smae way to my beleifs it was a noce jesture and I appreciate
the service of that person. Those not wanting prayer can adapt the same
attitude. It's a nice jesture and no one is asking them to believe in
The ruling wasn't a win for the religious community and loss for the
nonbelievers as some might assume. We all lose when specific legal assurances
are granted to religions. The reason we all should be interested in separating
church and state is because of the diversionary effects of imposing religion
where it is irrelevant i.e. the public sphere. We can now look forward to the
most contentious issues at a town hall meeting being who gets to give the next
prayer. When piously expressing religiosity is a person's top priority,
civility and decency tend to drift into irrelevancy.
@ Ranch, Since DN did print it... what does that say about the DN?
Maybe other "politically motivated" articles weren't as bad as some
might think. Maybe they are actually trying to print both sides of the story.
After all they allow your comments and they certainly are more often against DN
editorials than with them. Would that MSNBC and Fox were as impartial. Kudos
Mr Davis is just another person who believes Freedom of Religion should be
interpreted as Freedom from Religion. And how is this Freedom from Religion
working out for this country so far?
I have a greater appreciation for the founding fathers knowing that they did not
begin their meetings with prayer. They were wise.
@happy2bhere: I want to stop religious expression in government functions. I
have no desire whatsoever to stop religious expression in non-government
functions. I'm willing to bet the most Christians in America try to put a
stop to Islamic prayers in government functions, but would have no problem with
their expressing their religious beliefs in non-government functions. The
golden rule is far better than insisting on having bad manners by insisting on
prayer among others who might not believe like you do.
Nice thing about being on the SUPREME court is that other people's opinions
do not matter. Even other supreme court decision do not matter, it is a snapshot
in time. But if you disagree with this courts decision, for now, tough.
Furry states, " In other words, either creating a religion or establishing
that one religion has preference over another religion or over no
religion."Again, your interpretation is completely wrong. The
1st Amendment does not state what you infer. Is says nothing of the kind. It
states that Congress shall not make a law establishing a religion. Prayer in
schools, city council meetings etc does not violate the Constitution. If you are offended by God in the public square that is your problem not
anyone else's. The writer is completely lost and has no basis
for his words in the Constitution. Is this guy indicative of what they teach at
people in this country just want to be left alone to give the prayers that they
want. If the majority in a community want to give a Christian prayer then back
off - leave them alone - and let them pray. If someone is offended by a
Christian prayer - too bad. This is a Christian nation so get over it or move
somewhere else. So sick of all the so-called offended people when in reality it
is just a very small VOCAL minority.
To all those gentiles offended by prayer I suggest they take advantage of the
liberty the SC just confirmed. Don't be offended. Speak up, be strong and
offer your views. If you don't, religon oppression not only has a chance
to be seeded but germinate in the culture the extreme, religous right wants to
suppress on our country. To many patriots have sacrificed to much to make this
country what it is (my father included). One should not be afraid of religon
and I believe God wants us to stand up to the corruption that is possible by it.
Let there be prayer and also let their be freedom of speech to make sure it does
not suppress the rights all Americans are granted by our constitution.
If the Supreme Court had outlawed prayer, which is a form of speech, what would
those who are against prayer in public meetings say? Would they think that one
class of speech can be censored by government without other classes of speech
being impacted? Where would the line be drawn? When the government
is forbidden to censor speech, all classes of speech, including prayer, must be
allowed or no class is safe.If the government restricts one class of
speech in one public meeting, what restrains it from restricts all classes of
speech in public meetings?The Supreme Law clearly states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". Prohibiting means exactly what it
says, even in a public meeting.The Constitution protects us from
government and from abuses by government. It is not a shield to protect us from
Professor Davis is right. These were my exact thoughts when I heard the about
the ruling of the Supreme Court. I am amazed that 5 of the justices felt that
these prayers to begin a city council meeting were ok.
My belief is that off-color jokes are not appropriate in the workplace, and so
when I hear them, I put a stop to them. I interrupt them.I also
believe that religious solicitations are inappropriate in many contexts, and so
when they happen, I interrupt them and put a stop to them. Or at very least I
ignore them and go about doing the business that is at hand.In the
same way, I believe that religious prayers are highly inappropriate in
government and public meetings. As such, I will interrupt them, ignore them and
carry on with the appropriate activities for the venue.I invite all
like minded persons to do likewise.We do not have to remain silent
("be silenced") by religious hegemony, and have our free speech
squelched due to religious "ceremony" in the public square.
I'm puzzled: I pay tithing to have someone express this opinion at BYU?
Why is it that religious people need to push their religion at government
spoken like a true Communist
Openminded Mormon.For a supposed LDS member, you never defend the
church at all? Why is that? Do you just care what man thinks more? This idea
that we are opposed to non Christian prayers in political settings is total
asinine. I was at a city council meeting where a Jewish prayer was offered and
it didn't bother me at all. I know you certainly won't
have this mindset about prayer and religion on the other side of the veil, so
why have that viewpoint here? it makes no sense.
Open Minded Mormon."Americans are fighting and dying to keep
Praying OUT of the Government!"No they're not. You even
said yourself they are there to steal the oil and destablize governments in the
middle east. If they were fighting for our freedoms, they would be over here.
@DemiurgeWhy is it that people in the government need to push their
government at religious functions?
I disagree that the court erred. This wasn't about religious establishment
at all, but about religious expression, which it correctly ruled is permissible
even in a town meeting. Considering religious expression in this country has
taken a beating for decades, it's answering a different problem by ruling
the way it did, and will hopefully give those who desire to publicly express
their religions a little lee-way, so that we CAN express our religious diversity
in a healthy and respectful manner. By requiring silence instead of
religious expression, which is what the author of this objection favors, we will
never reach diversity at all.
I think those who object have missed the point of the Justices decision. It was
not that Government MUST start with a prayer, only that is MAY start with a
prayer if the people in attendance desire it. I think Mr Davis
failed to look at it from the perspective of others. He is basically saying
others should have looked at it as he does. Since he does not prefer prayer, we
should be respectful of him and not pray.Greece decided most people
wanted to pray, so Mr. Davis should look at it and say, well if most people
there feel starting with a prayer is beneficial, then lets start with a prayer
so most people are happy. In life everyone will almost never be happy about
everything, all we can hope is that most are happy about any one thing. Besides,
prayers are a minute long. Is it really that hard to wait?And yes,
if I went to a place where a group prayed very weirdly, then I would feel
uncomfortable, but I also know its rude to say they can't pray that way
because I don't like their prayer.My own 2 cents.