Justices allow public prayers at New York town's council meetings
May 5th, 2014
11:22 AM ET
3 months ago

Justices allow public prayers at New York town's council meetings

(CNN) - The Supreme Court gave limited approval on Monday to public prayers at a New York town's board meetings, citing the country's history of religious acknowledgment in the legislature.

The 5-4 ruling came in yet another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena. It was confined to the specific circumstances and offered little guidance on how other communities should offer civic prayers without violating the Constitution.

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    We're becoming more of a theocracy day by day.

    May 5, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Sniffit

    Yet another wiping of fundy conservative religio-fascist sniffles with the Constitution. Kennedy even makes the egregious comment that if people don't like the prayer, they can step out of the room...which of course just begs the question: "why should they freekin have to in the first place?" Stepping out of the room just segregates and ostracizes those who leave, potentially drawing scorn, creating a perception of them by the worshippers that their opinions and arguments at the town meeting should be given little credibility or should be dismissed out of hand. Might as well just throw the Establishment Clause out the window and read it right out of the Constitution.

    Had this been a small rural town with a Muslim majority engaging in full prostrating prayer towards Mecca before every town meeting, the conservatives on here gloating as if they're winning some battle against the separation of church and state would be mindlessly furious right now. Fact is, the Krischun Nashun cabal views themselves not just engaged in a holy war against Islam, but also against the Constitution.

    May 5, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. don in albuquerque

    Oh yes, the right trying to teach us all their brand of old time religion. Only problem is they don't like most of what Jesus taught. So they pray to Jumpin Jehosaphat, or anyone else they think might listen. Have you guys thought of Ra, or Odin? I'm certain the SCROTUS prays to Mr. GreenJeans. and then they prey on America.

    May 5, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Silence DoGood

    Any liberal thinkers attending these meetings should immediately offer to say prayers in the various different religions of the world, represented here in this country. I am getting WAY tired of these Theocracy folks equating religious freedom with their own pet sect.

    This actually works. Where I am, a group demanded to put up Christian Christmas things on state property. Liberals and Atheists immediately demanded the addition of ALL manner of various religious symbols and sayings. It was all taken down. They want religious freedom? I say give it to 'em.

    May 5, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Good Ole Mr. Wilson

    Scalia's wife is a pro life activist. Thomas's wife is a right wing political hack. These two men NEVER recuse themselves from any court cases even if issues that their wives support are involved. On the other hand, Sotomayor and Kagan recuse themselves all the time in order to avoid and hint of conflict of interest. Thomas and Scalia are an embarrassment to the court and should be removed.

    May 5, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. 2_indy1600

    This country is not an "atheocracy" anymore than it is a theocracy. Monotheism is not hard to understand, especially for such educated people as post here about dead Gods. The true God is very much alive; you are living in the past, and have ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see. It's not the Christians that don't like what Jesus taught.

    May 5, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "This country is not an "atheocracy""

    Actually, if what you mean by "atheocracy" is "secular," then yeah, I'm afraid we are very very much an "atheocracy." Make all he political inroads on that you can. When the people who aren't reactionaries like the conservative Christian fundies are finally reach their limit and DO become reactionary to your theocratic destruction of the Constituition, you'll have a wonderful lesson to learn...the hard way.

    May 5, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. salty dog

    Indy, their obviously thinking of the cut to food stamps, and attempting to repeal the aca, and leave you at the mercy of emboldened insurance companies. And there's the blatant attempt to suppress the votes of the poor, and low income workers, and any attempt at debunking that is useless, you don't make that many changes, that all greatly favor the Republicans by accident .

    May 5, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. hammerhead

    christians- one... heretics -0

    May 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. 2_indy1600

    @Sniffit "Make all the political inroads you can...you'll have a wonderful lesson to learn...the hard way."
    Experience is not the only teacher, as a matter of fact, it's an inferior teacher and sometimes self-destructive. "Where two agree as touching anything they shall ask," is the most powerful verse in Holy scripture. That's why communists fear "house churches" and don't allow them in their countries. I have no political inroads to travel. A godless party isn't a party, it's just confused. Why threaten people? Do you prefer Sharia? Boca Harem, huh?

    May 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    @2_indy1600
    This country is not an "atheocracy" anymore than it is a theocracy. Monotheism is not hard to understand, especially for such educated people as post here about dead Gods. The true God is very much alive; you are living in the past, and have ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see. It's not the Christians that don't like what Jesus taught.
    ---------
    We are a secular country with freedom of religion by design of the founding fathers.
    If you feel you are in touch with the "true God", go for it. Worship as you wish. Just keep it out of my government.
    “I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.”
    ~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

    May 5, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "A godless party isn't a party, it's just confused. Why threaten people? Do you prefer Sharia? Boca Harem, huh?"

    There's no threat. The only thing threatening the folks who wish to institutionalize Christian beliefs in our laws is history...both ancient and contemporary...which teaches and proves that theocracy ends poorly for those who preach it. What I said was not a threat, but a reminder.

    As for your off-hand dismissal of anyone and anything that doesn't believe in your gods, well, you illustrate quite well why the Establishment Clause was written into the First Amendment in the first place...and why this SCOTUS decision is complete junk, despite their efforts to make it a "this decision only applies to this particular situation" decision.

    May 5, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @hammerhead
    christians- one... heretics -0
    ----------
    If that is all you see in the world, you really need to get out more and at least read about other religions.
    Tolerance is an American value.

    May 5, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Scalia's wife is a pro life activist. Thomas's wife is a right wing political hack.

    True

    May 5, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Good. The war on religion in America, is turning us into a lawless country.

    May 5, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    @Rick McDaniel
    Good. The war on religion in America, is turning us into a lawless country.
    ---------
    John Quincy Adams would disagree. He swore in as president on a book of laws to demonstrate that we are a country of laws. We are a country of laws with religious and other freedoms, not a Christian country.

    May 5, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Tampa Tim

    At our meetings we begin with the "Pledge of Allegiance." That is something republicans should learn?

    May 5, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    At our meetings we begin with the "Pledge of Allegiance." That is something republicans should learn?
    -------
    With or without "under God"?

    May 5, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    @Fair is Fair
    Tampa Tim

    At our meetings we begin with the "Pledge of Allegiance." That is something republicans should learn?
    ---
    With or without "under God"?
    -----
    Since God was stuck in during the 1950's, I would say without, as originally intended.
    I am a first principles liberal!

    May 5, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. S. B. Stein

    I have a growing concern about this current court. I think that it is pulling the country in a direction that would favor the current big money/mostly big government conservatives that don't like the little guy because they are to be stepped on. People need to learn that there is no one religious outlook or prayers that should be said if that is the only one. We either need to be all inclusive of a community or not have anything when it comes to prayers in the public sector.

    May 5, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. smith

    Why is this an issue? Who cares if somebody prays, nobody is forcing anybody to pray along with them. Some of these people on both sides need read up on the meaning of the word, "tolerance".

    May 5, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Fair is Fair: "Tampa Tim: At our meetings we begin with the "Pledge of Allegiance." That is something republicans should learn?
    ---
    With or without "under God"?

    --

    The Pledge of Allegiance was originally written composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892; Congress formally adopted it in 1942. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. On Flag Day 1954, the words "under God" were added, in response to the anti-Communism scare of the 50s.

    Why are all you righties yammering on about doing as the Founders intended – who did NOT say the Pledge?

    May 5, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @smith: "Why is this an issue? Who cares if somebody prays, nobody is forcing anybody to pray along with them. Some of these people on both sides need read up on the meaning of the word, "tolerance".

    So if from now on an Islamic prayer to Allah were said before every meeting, it wouldn't bother you?

    May 5, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Take Back the House: "We're becoming more of a theocracy day by day."

    Par for the course, when you look at the conservative Catholic majority on the SCOTUS (all of whom are male, I might add). They all believe "the little people" should not have power, because rich folks and corporations know what's best for them.

    May 5, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  25. 2_indy1600

    I don't care if there are a thousand different prayers offered up, just don't try to shut them up. Stand by the God you place faith in, and don't confuse it with governance.

    "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no Gods."
    Thomas Jefferson, 1784

    May 5, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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