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-The Coming Case to Shut Down Public Prayer

by Dr. D ~ October 9th, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court building.

                        (U.S. Supreme Court building: Wikipedia)

Next month the Supreme Court will hear a case where the originators propose to shut down or regulate prayers given in open public town meetings.

Over the last 10 years or so, hundreds of cities and counties have given up their traditional opening prayers under the threat of costly litigation. But one small town in upper New York has refused to be intimidated and is standing up for what they view as their Constitutional rights.  Here’s an editorial about this issue and the coming court case along with a few quotes:

…  Greece, N.Y. is in the bullseye of a nationwide attack challenging the right of people to offer prayers to open public meetings.

On November 6, 2013, Alliance Defending Freedom and the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher will defend this small town before the United States Supreme Court in Town of Greece v. Galloway. Opposing the town stands Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, among others.

The Supreme Court decision will be a watershed moment in a nationwide battle to define the liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. At stake is the right of volunteer citizens to decide for themselves how they pray, and the right of a town to accommodate the beliefs of its citizens. The forces arrayed against the town are demanding that the town either stop opening prayers or censor the way people pray.

Opening public meetings with a prayer is a historic and cherished tradition that predates the founding of this nation. From the landing of the Mayflower, through the deliberations of the Continental Congress, and still continued in every state at every level of government, including the U.S. Congress, Americans seek Divine guidance and blessing on their deliberations. In 1983, the Supreme Court recognized this history and noted that Congress hired paid chaplains to open its meeting with prayer while they were writing the very words of the First Amendment. Finding such prayers unconstitutional would absurdly suggest that the framers of the Constitution were violating the document as they wrote it!

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is really about changing the Constitution by judicial fiat and re-interpreting it’s language.

On one side is the framers of the Constitution who saw nothing ‘unconstitutional’ about beginning their sessions with prayer or even stopping in the midst of their day to seek divine guidance for their decisions. Then there was 200 years of history and prayers still being given at the opening of Congressional sessions and the Supreme Court itself.

Does the Constitution really demand the elimination of religion in the public square and all possible offense like many in this generation believe? We know the original intent of the writers of the document based upon what they did during their lifetime following it’s enactment.

The very first day of the new republic following the inauguration of George Washington as the first President (which included a couple of prayers), nearly the entire Federal government including the President, Vice President and the cabinet along with most of the newly elected Congress walked with Washington from the Federal building in New York City to St. Paul’s Chapel and thought nothing wrong about praying together for the future of the new constitutional republic of America.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will deal directly with this issue and not pass over it by ruling on some technicality instead.             *Top

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