Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Christian Prayers Constitutional

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that opening town council meetings with Christian prayers does not violate the Constitution, so long as officials make an effort at inclusion.

The 5-4 ruling was a victory for Greece, New York, which was at the center of the case, but also for a fair and historical reading of the First Amendment.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, "The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers."

Given that public prayer wasn't considered a constitutional crisis by those who authored and signed it, we'd say this ruling got it right.

SOURCE

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Prayer is a waste of time that takes away from productivity.

Anonymous said...

Ve must be productive comrade. The State demands it.

stinky said...


Prayer is a waste of time that takes away from productivity.

So is commenting on a blog.

Anonymous said...

That this was done by a 5-4 margin shows just how fragile this ruling is tough. There were four judges who obviously are too stupid to comprehend the constitution.

Anonymous said...

*Christian* public prayers are clearly biased against US citizens who are not Christian, so if there were some unexplained need for prayer-like public expression, why couldn't it be "general" in nature. Or do Christians still believe they have a right to dominate the state as a virtual theocracy (so not much different to Muslims!).

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:18,

Christian prayers are no more biased than any other form of protected expression.

However, this case centered around two people who were "offended" by a prayer before the beginning of town meetings. The two women claimed that the prayers, offered by members of the clergy who volunteered were overly biased because more Christian clergy had volunteered than other religions.

Justice Kagan felt the city needed to actively go out and look for clergy from other faiths to somehow balance the other people who were volunteering. In other words, she thought the town should seek to promote other religions and not promote another.

However, while the headline of the post says "Christian Prayers Constitutional," the opinion did not say that Christian prayers alone are Constitutional. The decision said that sectarian prayers are allowed. That would be all inclusive.

The court also offered up a series of tests as to determine when a city's policy of allowing a prayer, moment of silence, etc crosses the line between expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment and the establishment of a religion or belief system as prohibited by the First Amendment.

Use the Name, Luke said...

"The court also offered up a series of tests…"

What are those tests, and would the men who both created the First Amendment and implemented opening prayers in Congress pass those tests?

"…so long as officials make an effort at inclusion."

I don't recall the Founders actually doing this.

Anonymous said...

Religions and their rival sects just create discord in society. Why can't they just practise their religions in private with each other and not involve the public at large.

Anonymous said...

Luke implies that what the Founding Fathers did was correct and should be emulated. So would Luke then support slavery?!

Anonymous said...

"So would Luke then support slavery?!"

Of course he would. He needs someone to mow his lawn since he spends all his time commenting on right wing blogs.

Anonymous said...

I see the supporters of the "soft" slavery of the welfare state are out in force (all 2 of them) today.
Yes, being a dead gang banger product of the ghetto thug "culture" sure beats "pickin" dat cotton." Simon Legree had nothing on the new slave masters of the Democrat Party. Primary difference being that the new masters let the Negroes forge their own chains. "Don't be actin' White now, it might keep you from being a rap star."

Anonymous said...

Use the Name Luke,

....the men who both created the First Amendment and implemented opening prayers in Congress pass those tests?

Being that neither the men on anyone was required to pass a "test," it seems that you may not understand what is being said. The actions of people can be tested.

As for Congress and the prayers there, it is important to note that the prayers there are not for the public, but for the members of Congress. There is a distinction between praying as a group - even a governmental group - and praying in a governmental public meeting. The participants are different. One is there as a part of their job and can come and go freely. The public is not there freely if they want to seek redress from their elected officials.

But to answer your in-artful question, yes, the Founding Fathers would have understood this. While it is clear the Founding Fathers had no issue with religion, people of faith in government or people of faith in government expressing their faith, they did not want the government to coerce people of no faith or other faiths to believe in a certain manner in order to participate in government or be viewed equally under the law.

Thus, the First Amendment allows religious expression, but does not allow the government to establish, seek to establish or coerce others into believing a certain thing.

The tests put forth by the SCOTUS yesterday address how governments can determine if their actions cross from protected religious expression into coercion.

If you want to know what the tests are, I suggest that you take the time to read the opinion (including the dissenting opinion which also said that prayers are allowed at government sponsored events).

I don't recall the Founders actually doing this.

I do. It is called the First Amendment. Perhaps you have heard of it?

I'd rather not use a name said...

Luke said at 2:57, "I don't recall the Founders actually doing this."

Then Luke said at 6:14, "I do. It is called the First Amendment. Perhaps you have heard of it?"

It appears that Luke is talking to himself. Religion does that to ya.

Use the Name, Luke said...

It appears that Luke is talking to himself.

That says all that needs to be said about the trolls' attention to detail and care for truth.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather not use a name,

It appears that Luke is talking to himself. Religion does that to ya

Massive fail on your part in that it is clear that there are two people in being quoted by you.

Being a troll will do that to ya.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 6:14,

Being that neither the men on anyone was required to pass a "test," it seems that you may not understand what is being said. The actions of people can be tested.

I think you may have misunderstood my point. The same men who wrote and instituted the First Amendment also put a religious practice into place within the government. How they acted in relation to their own law demonstrates what their intent in passing that law was.

It is obvious that their intent was not to keep religion out of government entirely. If so, they would not have implemented opening prayers. Period.

While it is clear the Founding Fathers had no issue with religion, people of faith in government or people of faith in government expressing their faith, they did not want the government to coerce people of no faith or other faiths to believe in a certain manner in order to participate in government or be viewed equally under the law.

Thus, the First Amendment allows religious expression, but does not allow the government to establish, seek to establish or coerce others into believing a certain thing.


I agree. But this is not my point. My point is to compare the "tests" put forth by the Supreme Court to the Founders' intent in the First Amendment by comparing those tests to the official actions of those men. One of those "tests" was mentioned in the post:

"…so long as officials make an effort at inclusion."

Your snark missed my point entirely. To my knowledge, no efforts were made to have anything but Christian prayers for a long time in Congress. No prayers to American Indian gods. No prayers to Bhudda, Allah, pagan spirits, or anything else. If they did not make any "effort at inclusion," then how can that be a valid test? (Note: to my knowledge, they didn't make any effort at exclusion either.)

Note: I was unable to find anything about the first prayer in Congress that was not Christian. The closest I could find was to the first Hindu prayer in Congress… in 2007.

Anonymous said...

Use the Name, Luke,

I think you may have misunderstood my point.

I think you may not realize how badly you tried to state your point.

How they acted in relation to their own law demonstrates what their intent in passing that law was.

Here you seem to realize that it is the actions of people that matter yet at the same time keep trying to defend your statement of "testing" people.

If so, they would not have implemented opening prayers. Period.

Once again, there is a difference between praying as a group in government and governmental imposition of religion on citizens.

One is allowed, the other is not.

My point is to compare the "tests" put forth by the Supreme Court to the Founders' intent in the First Amendment by comparing those tests to the official actions of those men.

Yet you have said that you don't know what those tests are. You are condemning something out of ignorance.

Your snark missed my point entirely.

Because your point had no basis in reality. The Founding Fathers never specified what faith, what religion or belief set an individual had to be to offer a prayer in Congress or anywhere else. By that very action, they were being inclusive. The Supreme Court affirmed and in fact demanded that inclusiveness.

(Note: to my knowledge, they didn't make any effort at exclusion either.)

Which is being inclusive.

That was the point of the case. Two people sued the Town of Greece because while they recognized that sectarian prayers were acceptable prior to public meetings, they charged the town was not being inclusive to all faiths and belief sets.

If they did not make any "effort at inclusion," then how can that be a valid test?

I've already answered this several times and see no reason to answer it again.

I will say this: You are trying to argue without reading or knowing the basis of the case or the published opinion(s.)

What you labeled "snark," was actually an attempt to show that you are embarrassing yourself by trying to make points out of ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Arguing about religion is a total waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Why all the arguing about an ancient ritual that does absolutely nothing?

Anonymous said...

It's because children in each generation are indoctrinated into the tribal myths and beliefs of their communities. When it becomes part of the prevailing culture of large populations it becomes respectable and often not to be questioned without social or legal punishment.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 4:01,

Well, that didn't take long for you to expose yourself. While more sophisticated than our regular lowbrow trolls, your willingness to maliciously misread another's writing matches theirs, likely caused by your equally overt hostility.

I can't stop you from attacking your straw men, but I won't help you by wasting any more time on you.

One more thing…

I've already answered this several times…

No. You did not. Name calling is not an argument or an answer.

Anonymous said...

"Name calling is not an argument or an answer."

You just called Anon 4:01, a troll, you god damned hypocrite.

I do believe in the power of prayer. And I am praying that God sees through your smug, blow hard, self righteousness.

Anonymous said...

Use the Name Luke,

Well, that didn't take long for you to expose yourself. While more sophisticated than our regular lowbrow trolls, your willingness to maliciously misread another's writing matches theirs, likely caused by your equally overt hostility.

I did not read anything "maliciously" (as if that is even possible.)

I don't care if you think I am a troll or not. I have been on this site commenting longer than you have and have tried to keep my comments respectful. Apparently you feel that unless someone agrees with you, they are a troll.

I've already answered this several times…

I don't see where I called you a name. I said that you spoke out of ignorance on this case which you still exhibit.

However, you claim I did not answer your question of If they did not make any "effort at inclusion," then how can that be a valid test?

On 6:14 AM I directed you to the First Amendment which is all inclusive. Notice it does not say that only people of a certain faith or belief are free to express themselves in a religious manner.

In other words, the Founding Fathers made an effort to insure inclusion of all people of religious faiths and beliefs.

At 4:10 AM I again answered your point saying: The Founding Fathers never specified what faith, what religion or belief set an individual had to be to offer a prayer in Congress or anywhere else. By that very action, they were being inclusive. The Supreme Court affirmed and in fact demanded that inclusiveness.

Despite your protestations to the contrary, it is clear that I have answered your question. It is that you are so grounded in disagreeing that you refuse to see what was said and done by the founding fathers.

However, let's take a look at this case. In Town of Greece v. Galloway the town had taken steps to make sure that all faiths were welcome. The prayers or moment of silence offered before the meetings were done by volunteers based on a sign up sheet. The town made sure the policy was known and advertised.

In short, the town took steps to be inclusive of all faiths and beliefs.

If you had taken the steps to read the opinion(s) instead of just a post on a blog, you would know that you are in fact agreeing with the plaintiffs in this case - you know, the people who thought the town was not inclusive.

It appears that your argument, as was theirs, is because very few people of other faiths spoke either at the town meetings on in Congress, that the town / Founding Fathers made no effort to be "inclusive."

The SCOTUS found that because the town had no duty to go out and drag people of different faiths into the proceedings, (as Justice Kagan suggested which would be promoting a religion), had not excluded anyone, had made the policy known, and used a method to determine who would speak that was not exclusionary or prejudicial, the town had met its burden of being "inclusive' to all faiths and all beliefs.

I implore you, as I have repeatedly done, to read the case. Read the opinion(s). Read the briefs prepared by the town and the plaintiffs. Read the amicus briefs. Read the opinions of lower courts.

It is clear that you have not because you are continuing to argue that which has been addressed. You are continuing to make statements based on your ignorance of the case. You are still trying to make points off of a "blog post" rather than looking at actual source material.

If you had read or even tried to cure your ignorance on this case, you wouldn't be coming off as a self righteous, angry person who doesn't understand the issues below that of a third grade comic book.

Ignorance can be cured, but from what I have seen on this issue, you have no interest in being knowledgeable, and are more concerned with imagined persecution.

Bird of Paradise said...

Oh how the ACLU,FFRF and Satan are beating their heads against the walls over this

Anonymous said...

Didn't some Christian activists recently disrupt a Hindu "prayer" in the US Senate in a disgraceful and intolerant way (see Youtube).

Anonymous said...

If you consider 2007 "recent," there was a case where a Hindu prayer was interrupted by three protesters who were later identified as Christians.

Protesting is a form of speech which is important but can be restricted to time, place and manner by the government. Clearly the government restricts all protests from the gallery in the US Senate so the protest was stopped not because of its content.

However, that being said, the protesters were wrong to protest in that forum. In my opinion, if you disagree with something, the way to "counter" the ideas being put forth is more speech and more ideas, not trying to shut and shout people down.

The protestors are free not to have Hindu prayers in their homes or on property they control. But if they want to have their religious beliefs protected by the government and others in a public forum, they need to support protecting the right of others to express their beliefs. In short, if they want the protection of the First Amendment, they must allow the First Amendment to protect others as well - even if they disagree with what is being said.

The three people were arrested for breaking the law and I have no problems with that. They were not only legally wrong, but morally and ethically wrong.

Anonymous said...

"later identified as Christians" - yes I suppose when they were yelling out the name of "Lord Jesus" it would take some time to realize they were Christians.

Anonymous said...

4:33 -

Yes, "later identified," because no one in this country is forced to walk around with a badge or a sign saying what their belief system is.

And, in case you weren't aware, there have been cases where people have disrupted events giving the impression they belong to one group only to be part of another group. The intent, of course, being to embarrass the one group of which they are not a member.

Anonymous said...

9:13 - if you bother to listen to what they yelled out in the Senate chamber there was no doubt they were Christians. To immediately think it was a "false flag" would be unreasonably suspicious.

Go Away Bird said...

I see Harvard(Mr Thuston Howelle IIIs alma matter is going to conduct a satanic rituial PLANNING TO SACRIFICE A VIRGIN OR TWO?

Anonymous said...

12:55 -

I have listened to what was yelled.

It is not "unreasonably suspicious" if you had actually seen things like that happen, but that's okay.

I bow to your lack of experience.

Anonymous said...

3:50 So I must bow to your greater experience with false flags, including using them yourself maybe!