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-US Supreme Court: Prayer at Government Meetings Historically Constitutional

by Dr. D ~ May 6th, 2014

English: United States Supreme Court building ...

                                  (US Supreme Court building:  Wikipedia)

On Monday the US Supreme Court affirmed that prayers given at government meetings continue to be constitutional just like they have been for over 200 years in the history of the American republic.

Here’s the story from Citizen Link:

After more than five years of legal battles, the nation’s high court ruled today in favor of public prayers — including those “in Jesus’ name”- before government meetings. …

The case came out of Greece, N.Y. It had long opened its sessions with prayer. The council invited volunteers from congregations in the community to pray.

In 2008, two people challenged the prayers. An appeals court said the town must invite non-Christians from other communities to pray.

In the opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy underscored the rights of Americans:

“From the earliest days of the Nation, these invocations have been addressed to assemblies comprising many different creeds. These ceremonial prayers strive for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion. Even those who disagree as to religious doctrine may find common ground in the desire to show respect for the divine in all aspects of their lives and being. Our tradition assumes that adult citizens, firm in their own beliefs can tolerate and perhaps appreciate a ceremonial prayer delivered by a person of a different faith.”

The court affirmed that as long as the prayers are respectful, those praying may say essentially what they like. It also affirmed that if one prayer should wander outside what’s proper, that alone is not a reason to stop public prayers. And because most of the congregations in Greece are generally Christian, it’s acceptable for most of the people who pray to be Christians—no need to go outside the community to bring some unattainable sense of “balance” to what’s said in the prayers.

<Read the whole article>

Response: SCOTUS essentially confirmed what we have been saying for a long time on this site about prayers at government meetings. The historical precedence is beyond question. Prayers continue before Congress and the Supreme Court itself and yet atheist groups have been trying to convince city councils all across America that now they are somehow ‘un-Constitutional.’

It is a common sense decision that reflects reality and the makeup and character of the communities themselves. There will be no forced government sanitized prayer with some kind of ‘properly approved content’ leaving Christians to be able to say Christian prayers in Jesus name and Jewish folks to say Jewish prayers and etc.

The historical toleration and respect for all faiths is to be kept in place and religious liberty in public is maintained rather than restricted in the name of a supposed constitutional ‘separation of church and state.’  A real victory for the historical understanding of the Constitution and religious freedom.            *Top

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