From our perspective, this has always been something of a “no brainer.” While we understand that the state is not to sanction any one religion, we’ve always understood the Constitution to allow people voluntarily to participate in prayer at any time—and, at the same time, allow people to not participate if they so choose. Same with schools. We don’t believe anyone should be forced to pray with a group, especially if it violates their own spiritual traditions, but that should not prevent others from exercising their right to pray publicly as individuals or groups.
We understand the fears that some people have regarding bodies favoring one religion over another. But, we reserve concerns until that’s put to the test. We believe the high court got it right. And, this nation and it’s leaders from the local level on up certainly could use some prayer as they make their decisions.
Supreme Court upholds official prayer before public meetings
THE ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE
Susan Galloway sued the town of Greece, N.Y.
BY MICHAEL DOYLE
Star-Telegram Washington BureauWASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the authority of local officials to start public meetings with a prayer.In a 5-4 decision that aligned with popular political practice, the court ruled that the pre-meeting prayers in Greece, N.Y., did not violate the First Amendment’s requirement to keep church and state separate.
“Willing participation in civic affairs can be consistent with a brief acknowledgment of … belief in a higher power, always with due respect for those who adhere to other beliefs,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. “The prayer in this case has a permissible ceremonial purpose. It is not an unconstitutional establishment of religion.”
The divided ruling effectively retains the status quo, as many legislative bodies, including the House and the Senate, already start their sessions with prayer. The ruling also makes clear that prayers need not be nonsectarian in order to be constitutionally appropriate.