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Supreme Court on Religious Prayer Once Again Proves Politics Trumps All

The Supreme Court rules that prayer in governmental meetings is only "ceremonial," allowing prayers at town meetings.

The Supreme Court rules that prayer in governmental meetings is only “ceremonial,” allowing prayers at town meetings.

The findings are a twist on the comment by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. that the First Amendment protects “freedom for the thought that we hate.” On the Supreme Court, the First Amendment appears to protect freedom for the thought of people we like. [New York Times]

OH FOR Christ sake, it never ends. …and I say this as a person of deep spirituality, technically an Episcopalian, who now chooses daily meditation rather than marching to the beat of the traditionalist choir, to connect to whatever Force or God that makes the universe and nature hum.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a town in upstate New York did not violate the Constitution by starting its public meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month” who was almost always Christian. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that divided the court’s more conservative members from its liberal ones, said the prayers were merely ceremonial. They were neither unduly sectarian nor likely to make members of other faiths feel unwelcome. [New York Times]

Justice Kennedy and the rest of the majority need to download the current version of our political landscape to their 19th century brain pan. They’ve missed the entire rise of the right, not to mention what’s been thrown at President Obama, because they’re woefully out of touch as to what passes for “ceremonial” today.

If we could get religion out of politics our country would be much better off and so would religious institutions, because they could get back to doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Joel Osteen gets this and maybe that’s why he’s such a humongous success.

Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that prayers in government meetings are “part of the fabric of our society,” which became the foundation of precedence on this topic. What’s not allowed is disparaging one particular religion, or proselytizing another.

“When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another,” Kagan said.

“And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”

The long-awaited ruling came seven years after two women — a Jew and an atheist — took the town to court, and six months after oral arguments in November.

- Michael Wolf, USA Today

The claim of Justice Sotomayor being an atheist came from her book My Beloved World, which USA Today excerpted. Raised Catholic, she has written that she only attends church on special occasions, my words to describe her attendance, which isn’t that shocking. Does that make her an atheist?

What if she is?

It seems that we’ve got enough Catholics on the Supreme Court that someone a little less fervent about codifying their religion into law is needed.

Whatever “ceremonial” meant once it no longer means today, especially locally, where religious fundamentalists are using their faith to fracture what has become the modern American melting pot and includes a vast swath of religious preferences.

It should be noted that more and more people today are becoming non-affiliated religiously and also are not looking for to commit religiously, describing themselves as “spiritual” more often than “religious.”

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15 Responses to Supreme Court on Religious Prayer Once Again Proves Politics Trumps All

  1. mjsmith May 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    ““When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another,” Kagan said

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
    - George Washington

    • Taylor Marsh May 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      What Justice Kagan wrote doesn’t negate what Washington said, religion simply should have no place in governmental affairs, especially when it negates other religions and chooses a specific one.

      “Conservative” today means religious conservative, which has no resemblance to what Republican conservatives once used to represent.

      • mjsmith May 6, 2014 at 9:44 am #

        Having a prayer is great. It has been going on since the beginning and will always continue. Religion will always be part of public life. I know there is some strong opposition that is expressed with great passion. I watched Lawrence O’Donnell give a long complaint about President Obama using the Holy Bible as part of he Inauguration and re-Inauguration. I see a strong effort to associate religion with hate speech and the expression of religion as a hate crime. It is illegal to prohibit people from freely expressing their faith.

        “Liberals & Conservatives Literally Moving Farther Apart”

        “There’s this political problem that people are segregating into red and blue communities, but we don’t know why this happens,” Motyl told LiveScience.

        http://tinyurl.com/ppuxqqu

  2. cjoblak@hotmail.com May 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    This is so comical, leave it the liberals to have a problem with prayer.

    Just as they say” If you don’t like abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it.

    I say to them, if you don’t like prayer in governmnent meetings, don’t pray at government meetings.

    • Taylor Marsh May 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

      Leave it to today’s so-called conservatives to not know the difference between a decision one makes in the privacy of one’s home and a government meeting that deals with policies that impact an entire community in which people are compelled to get involved in order to register their views on governance to those governing.

      • cjoblak@hotmail.com May 6, 2014 at 9:51 am #

        Great spin, Taylor. Was so expected. :)

  3. ladywalker68 May 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

    I want you religious nuts to keep your hands off my government.

  4. casualobserver May 5, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    I am quite the libertarian conservative, in fact, I probably border on being libertine. However, if I am expected to tolerate public signage in Spanish, Muslim headwear in public places and European women who don’t shave their exposed body hair when visiting restaurants that I frequent, you all can also tolerate an occasional prayer uttered in public.

    It is freedom of expression for an individual, or group of individuals, not a forced baptism by a government body.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter May 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      “I am quite the libertarian conservative, in fact, I probably border on being libertine. However, if I am expected to tolerate public signage in Spanish, Muslim headwear in public places and European women who don’t shave their exposed body hair when visiting restaurants that I frequent, you all can also tolerate an occasional prayer uttered in public.

      It is freedom of expression for an individual, or group of individuals, not a forced baptism by a government body.”

      I wonder….are you and the other conservative(bullshit on your dishonest claim to being a libertarian.) actually and honestly as bone achingly stupid and or ignorant as you come across? Is this a Colbertt type of ironic comedy pointing out the absolutely hypocritical nature of the pathetic morons who call themselves the “right”? I think not. I think ya’ll simply really, really ARE as ignorant and stupid as ya’ll come across. To not be able to see the difference between individual prayer and state sponsored, taxpayers paid for SPECIFIC type of prayer….and to imbecilely attempt to equate multilingual signage for accuracy with “having an occasional prayer uttered in public” takes the level of stupidity of wingnutdome to new depths never before dreamed of by sane society.

      • mjsmith May 6, 2014 at 8:50 am #

        secularhumanizinevoluter, hypothetically if I was your friend and cared about you I would suggest sending the same message without the insults would be a great idea. This would benefit you, the person you are replying to, and the patrons/readers of this website. I do not know if you just can’t help yourself or what. Anyhow, we are not friends so I do not expect you to even consider this friendly advice.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter May 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

          I’m sorry if accurate descriptions strike you as an “insult”. Some would consider the mere fact of such a crassly, obviously disingenuous attempt at misleading and obfuscating the subject an insult.
          As for your “friendly” advice….BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Right up there with faux not news advising President Obama or Sec. Clinton!!!

  5. fangio May 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    They are ” authoritarian ” conservatives and they don’t give a damn about the Bill of Rights or Democracy . We can thank the democrats for putting them on the bench ,

  6. secularhumanizinevoluter May 6, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    ” We can thank the democrats for putting them on the bench ,”

    DAMN Hillary and Bill for appointing Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Kennedy and Alito…DAMN THEM TO HEL…..wait a second…..they didn’t? Somebody needs to stop sailing with Captain Morgan…..

    • fangio May 6, 2014 at 9:24 am #

      They would not be on the bench without the democrats help and you know it.

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