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.”