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May 5th, 2014
04:23 PM ET

After Supreme Court ruling, do religious minorities have a prayer?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) - If you don't like it, leave the room.

That's Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's advice for atheists and others who object to sectarian prayers before government meetings.

In a 5-4 decision written by Kennedy, the Supreme Court allowed Greece, New York, to continue hosting prayers before its monthly town board meetings - even though an atheist and a Jewish citizen complained that the benedictions are almost always explicitly Christian.

Many members of the country's majority faith - that is, Christians - hailed the ruling.

Many members of minority faiths, as well as atheists, responded with palpable anger, saying the Supreme Court has set them apart as second-class citizens.

Groups from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to the Hindu American Foundation decried Monday's decision.

"The court’s decision to bless ‘majority-rules’ prayer is out of step with the changing face of America, which is more secular and less dogmatic,” said Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which litigated the case.

At least one justice, Elena Kagan, seemed to agree. And while Kennedy's decision reads like a lesson in American history, Kagan's dissent offers a picture of the country's increasingly pluralistic present.

American politicians have prayed before public gatherings since the Founding Fathers crowded into a stuffy Philadelphia room to crank out the Constitution, Kennedy writes.

The inaugural and "emphatically Christian" prayer at the First Continental Congress was delivered by an Anglican minister, who overcame objections from the assembled Quakers, Anabaptists and Presbyterians.

The prayer united the mostly Christian Founding Fathers, and the rest is history, Kennedy writes.

So, the justice suggests, as long prayers at public meetings don't fall into a pattern of proselytizing, denigrating nonbelievers or threatening damnation, what's the problem?

According to a recent poll, the vast majority of Americans share Kennedy's view.

Less than 23% of Americans told pollsters at Fairleigh Dickinson University that they dislike prayers at public government meetings.

“This has always been a praying nation, despite its very secular Constitution,” said Peter J. Woolley, professor of comparative politics at Fairleigh Dickinson in Hackensack, New Jersey.

“People generally see generic prayer as harmless, if not uplifting, not as something that is oppressive.”

But what about people who like their local government meetings to be religion-free?

"Should nonbelievers choose to exit the room during a prayer they find distasteful, their absence will not stand out as disrespectful or even noteworthy," Kennedy writes.

Kagan, writing for the dissenting minority, sharply disagreed.

She suggested that the five justices who formed the majority - all of whom are Catholic - don't understand what it's like to belong to a minority faith in America.

The Supreme Court's Catholic majority seems to think that, because many prayers before government meetings take on a ceremonial aspect, the actual content of the prayers doesn't matter, Kagan continues.

In essence, she said, the majority is making light of religious differences while conferring a special role on Christianity.

"Contrary to the majority's apparent view, such sectarian prayers are not 'part of our expressive idiom' or 'part of our heritage and tradition,' assuming that 'our' refers to all Americans. They express beliefs that are fundamental to some, foreign to others - and because of that they carry the ever-present potential to divide and exclude."

To illustrate her point, Kagan, who is Jewish, raises a hypothetical scenario.

Let's say there's a Muslim resident of Greece, New York, who appears before the town board to share her policy views or request a permit.

Just before the Muslim woman makes her argument, a minister "deputized by the town" asks the room to pray in the name of "God's only son Jesus Christ."

With less than a dozen people the room, every action is noticed.

So, the Muslim woman has two choices, Kagan argues: 1) Go along with the majority and pray, despite her religious objections, or 2) Risk causing some kind of disturbance or public disagreement with the very people she is trying to persuade.

"And thus she stands at a remove, based solely on religion, from her fellow citizens and her elected representatives," Kagan writes.

Kagan did not suggest that the Supreme Court's majority (Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito) voted to uphold sectarian prayer because they are members of the country's largest church, Roman Catholicism.

But Ronald Lindsay of the Center for Inquiry, a Humanist group, called it "striking and sad" that "five of the six Christian justices on the Supreme Court formed the majority." (Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is Catholic, voted with Kagan.)

"With a Supreme Court that appears hostile to the rights of religious minorities, those of us who believe in a secular government must redouble our legal and advocacy efforts,” Lindsay said.

Of course, there's a great gap between being Catholic and using the gavel to promote Christianity.

But a new study conducted by scholars at the University of Southern California offers intriguing insights into how the justices have voted on First Amendment issues.

The upshot: The conservative justices tend to side with conservative causes; the liberals with liberal ones.

"Supreme Court Justices are opportunistic supporters of the First Amendment," write the scholars.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Courts • Discrimination • Interfaith issues • Prejudice • Religious liberty

soundoff (2,070 Responses)
  1. joeyy1

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]
    ./

    May 15, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
  2. gulliblenomore

    Ben....you needn't bothering ever responding to anything I post. You have already revealed what a horrible excuse of a Christian you are, making snide comments and quite thinly veiled insults that real Christians are not supposed to do. You are a fraud and I don't converse with frauds.

    May 13, 2014 at 7:38 am |
    • benhoody

      You hate the truth don't you, it's only you who can make snide remarks and comments toward others thinking you know it all, but when anyone turns it around onto you the tears flow along with more of your name calling and self righteous snide remarks. When someone disagrees with you all you can do is name call like a little kid, get over yourself, maybe you are wrong after all, ever think of that?

      May 13, 2014 at 11:23 am |
      • gulliblenomore

        Ben....I just told you I am not responding to you anymore. I didn't even read your post. You are a fraud christian

        May 13, 2014 at 11:28 am |
  3. joeyy1

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=360]

    May 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  4. bostontola

    Can something come from nothing?
    Can something have always been in existence?

    Those are the 2 possibilities. Neither requires a God. Neither requires a being that knows us or wants a relationship with us.

    The God hypothesis was reasonable and viable thousands of years ago. The Abrahamic God hypothesis ceased to be viable after the enlightenment. It fails on just about every dimension of life, factual, moral, ethical, and yes, even spiritual.

    That doesn't mean it was a failure. No intellectual system changed humankind more. It enabled the enlightenment itself. It ushered in the means of its own obsolescence. In complex systems, that could be the definition of success itself.

    Being wrong isn't even a bad thing. Being irrelevant would be. The Abrahamic religions are anything but irrelevant. They were wrong in a very constructive way, a stepping stone to scientific enlightenment. If they adapt, they may retain a role in advancing societal enlightenment. We'll see.

    May 10, 2014 at 10:36 am |
    • truthfollower01

      "Can something come from nothing?"

      It's amazing the length skeptics will go.

      Are you concerned that a raging bengal tiger can appear out of nothing in the next room and destroy your residence? If not, why?

      May 12, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
      • observer

        truthfollower01,

        Obviously, the tiger DID NOT come from nothing. As you foolishly admitted, it only APPEARED that way. So how did God come from nothing? How did he create EVERYTHING from NOTHING?

        May 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "Obviously, the tiger DID NOT come from nothing. As you foolishly admitted, it only APPEARED that way."

          I'm saying that if you believe it's possible for something to come from nothing, why doesn't anything and everything just pop into existence out of nothing, such as a raging Bengal tiger in the next room?

          "So how did God come from nothing?"

          This shows a misunderstanding on your part. God didn't "come" from anything. He has always existed. He never came into existence.

          "How did he create EVERYTHING from NOTHING?"

          Why would this be an issue for an all-powerful Being?

          May 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Follower....well....apparently your lousy excuse for a god can't even get rid of something so small as a germ or bacteria that would cause such suffering for his children that he so-called loves. As a matter of fact, I don't believe I have ever seen him do anything of value here on this planet. What a winner you picked to worship.

          May 12, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          well said by one who is only concerned with the here and now......who thinks we are here permanatly

          May 13, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....this is the only life we get. There is no proof that there is anything beyond death here. No evidence at all (including a 4 year old seeing Jesus on a rainbow colored pony)

          May 13, 2014 at 7:45 am |
        • kermit4jc

          your argument is double talk....if youre arguing for Gods existence for arguments sake...then be consistent

          May 13, 2014 at 9:46 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit...what in the hell are you talking about? I could not have been more plain talking.

          May 13, 2014 at 9:50 am |
        • kermit4jc

          well...you were supposing an argument that if God were to exist...hes not doing a good job here....and I returned that in supposing that god exist...you are seeing him for only the here and now and not an afterlife..when the Bible from which you are getting this god from clearly shows this world as temporary amd that there is an afterlife.....etc

          May 13, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....all 'ifs'. I actually do not believe in any gods at all....yours, Zeus, Allah, Vishnu, etc. I was approaching it from your point of view.

          May 13, 2014 at 10:08 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          The same argument could be made that material didn't "come" from anything. "It has always existed. It never came into existence."

          So your comments don't do ANYTHING to support creation over the Big Bang. Waste of time.

          May 12, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          So I correctly understand your view, what was this "material" doing 'forever' before it created the known universe?

          "So your comments don’t do ANYTHING to support creation over the Big Bang"

          Who said I didn't support the Big Bang?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          So what are your beliefs? Are you an atheist? Agnostic? Do you believe EVERY word of the Bible?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          "Follower….well….apparently your lousy excuse for a god can’t even get rid of something so small as a germ or bacteria that would cause such suffering for his children that he so-called loves."

          The wages of sin is death.

          "As a matter of fact, I don’t believe I have ever seen him do anything of value here on this planet."

          Read John 3:16.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Follower....you should read Harry Potter (the whole book). He did some pretty awesome stuff too! Straight out of a book just like your fantasy story!

          May 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
        • benhoody

          I don't think I have read such ignorance on a subject. You say you haven't seen anything done by God. Now how is it possible for you to see something done by someone you don't believe in? Why are Christians so hateful some ask, and then I read comments from people like you and have to ask, why are atheists so hateful towards God and those who believe in him, try to be a bit more mature, just because you don't agree with something doesn't mean you have to be so hateful.

          May 13, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • truthfollower01

          I am a Christian who believes the Bible to be infallible in their original autographs.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          follower....wow....even knowing that the bible was put together by men, including what they wanted to and leaving out what they wanted to? Please don't tell me that you believe the earth is only 6000 years old...you can't possibly be that stupid. I'm guessing you're not. I'm guessing you are not so stupid as to ignore all the fossil evidence, carbon dating, and light source definition from other planets and still believe that the earth is not millions of years old.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          It's surprising to hear anyone claim they support the bad morality in the Bible as well as the good.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          On atheism, what standard are you using to distinguish bad morality from good?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          Let's start with the basics. Can you at least give some historical data to establish Harry Potter as being a real person on history?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          follower....of course he is not real, which is the point. I'm not even actually denying that Jesus was real, but there is absolutely no proof that he was the son of god or divine in any manner, so sorry, he holds as much credence as Harry does.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Common sense, intelligence, logic, experience, the concept of the Golden Rule, lessons from failed "morality", etc.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          "follower….wow….even knowing that the bible was put together by men, including what they wanted to and leaving out what they wanted to?"

          Are you referring to the writers when you say "put together by men"?

          I am not a young earth creationist.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          follower, since the 'writers' of the bible were not always accurately identified as actually writing all the passages, I'm talking about the 'men' that decided what was part of holy scripture and what was not. And, I'm glad that you really don't believe the bible word for word....that is encouraging.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Oberver,

          Who's common sense? Who's logic? Why is your logic on morality any more authoritative than Hitler's?

          May 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          "but there is absolutely no proof that he was the son of god or divine in any manner"

          You are incorrect.

          In a debate between Bart Ehrman and Michael Licona, 3 facts were given that nearly 100 percent of modern scholars studying the subject at the time of the debate agree upon:

          1. Jesus' death by crucifixion.

          "One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate." – Bart Ehrman quote shown in his debate with Michael Liconia ("Ehrman vs. Licona (2009)") on YouTube.

          2. Appearances to the Disciples

          "Why, then, did some of the disciples claim to see Jesus alive after his resurrection? I don't doubt at all that some disciples claimed this. We don't have any of their written testimony, but Paul, writing about twenty-five years later, indicates that this is what they claimed, and I don't think he is making it up. And he knew at least a couple of them, whom he met just three years after the event Galatians 1:18-19)." – from Bart Ehrman's book, Jesus Interrupted

          3. Appearance to Paul

          ""there is no doubt that [Paul] believed that he saw Jesus' real but glorified body raised from the dead."
          – Bart Ehrman quote shown in his debate with Michael Liconia ("Ehrman vs. Licona (2009)") on YouTube.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Good night everyone. I enjoyed the conversations.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Why do you think God's torturous drowning of virtually everyone on the face of the earth was better than Hitler's killings?

          May 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          "And, I’m glad that you really don’t believe the bible word for word….that is encouraging."

          Do you mean literal? For example, I obviously don't believe Jesus is a physical door when He says that He is the Door in John 10:9. I do believe that the Bible is inerrant.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Follower...so you believe then that in order for you to be a disciple of Jesus you must hate your father and mother?

          And, you really believe that a 600 year old man built a boat that housed 2 of every animal on the planet and kept it afloat for a year?

          I'm not sure how you can both make the claim that the bible is inerrant and not agree with all it's passages. That seems a conflict of opinions.

          May 13, 2014 at 7:34 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          Of course the Bible is NOT inerrant. It's full of errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense.

          May 12, 2014 at 11:38 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          "I'm guessing you are not so stupid as to ignore all the fossil evidence, carbon dating, and light source definition from other planets and still believe that the earth is not millions of years old." stated Gullibleknowmore. But when i pointed out that radiocarbon dating was useless for dating the earth he responded by saying it wasn't used to date the earth. You cannot have it both ways, either it is or it isn't. The irregular creation of carbon 14 in the atmosphere, the uneven distribution in the atmosphere, the varied absorption rates into organisms, the unsteady decay rate of carbon 14 all go towards making it a useless thing in dating the earth. So who is the gullible one now?

          May 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
        • Sungrazer

          awanderingscot,

          Radiocarbon dating can't be used to date the age of the Earth itself. It can only be used to date organic material up to ~60,000 years old. Other types of radiometric dating must be employed.

          May 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        truthfollower01,

        Since you are bringing up Hitler yet again, you should know that fellow Christian Theo Phileo has recently stated that God decreed and planned the Holocaust and used Hitler to carry it out. This was the exact scenario I posed to you. You said it presented a "false god" and so would not comment on it. There is much disagreement between you two it seems.

        May 13, 2014 at 9:59 am |
  5. bostontola

    After Supreme Court ruling, do religious minorities have a prayer?
    +
    Study: Young Latinos losing faith
    =
    Old Supreme Court Lagging Society

    May 10, 2014 at 10:14 am |
  6. truthfollower01

    Do atheists and skeptics believe that nothing (no thing/not anything) can become something?

    May 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      Do Christians believe that something (god) came from nothing? What made your god?

      May 9, 2014 at 10:46 pm |
      • truthfollower01

        We believe that God exists necessarily, not contingently.

        May 9, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....I guess I need to quantify that question. Do you believe god is real? If you do, how did he/she get there? Did he/she come from nothing? To answer your question about what atheists believe, I can't answer for all of them, but I can say that I believe that something could conceivably come from nothing. I am not sure how yet, as the science is incomplete. However, I think that the direction that science is going is showing clear avenues of the creation of something from energy. This to me is much more plausible than the idea that a sky wizard waved a magic wand and created humanity....just my opinion, though.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:03 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          I humbly say that I know God is real. Not only do I believe the evidence points to God's existence, but God can be experientially known as Jesus indicates. God exists necessarily and eternally. God has no beginning nor end.

          "but I can say that I believe that something could conceivably come from nothing."

          This runs contradictory to science and everything observable in our world today. While you are sitting there typing responses, are you concerned that a raging tiger could appear in another room of your residence and destroy your furniture? Why not? Why doesn't anything and everything pop into being from nothing?

          "However, I think that the direction that science is going is showing clear avenues of the creation of something from energy."

          To clarify, "energy" is not "nothing". I'm not sure if this is what you are indicating.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....that's fine that you believe god is real, but then you also have to admit that he came from nothing. If you can't, you are being dishonest. Of course, there is no evidential way you can believe god is real. It stems from your imagination, however real it may seem to you. I'm sure your evidence is compelling, but probably only to you. That is always been the problem with Christians, that they have this arrogance that they know for sure there is a god. I truly do not care for extremes on either side....those that say they know for sure there is a god, without any proof, and those that say they know for sure there is no god, without any proof. I am an atheist and base my decision solely on logic and reason, which dictates that there is no god, and no offense, but particularly yours. Your god is mean, non-sensical, and treats his children worse than the most heinous parents I have ever heard of. I truly hope your god does not exist, as he is absolutely not worthy of my worship. And I already admitted, I am not scientifically smart enough to have all the answers, and I purport that anybody that says they do is pretty much lying. Same goes for the religious that think they have all the answers....I've seen many of them here on this site.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:29 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "but then you also have to admit that he came from nothing."

          Why do I have to admit this? The Christian view is that God didn't "come" from anything. He wasn't created nor did He come into existence at a specific point. He has always existed. He is eternal.

          "Of course, there is no evidential way you can believe god is real."

          There are many reasons to believe in the existence of God. The existence of objective morality, the historical data concerning the resurrection of Jesus (which I've spoke of many times on this board), and creation itself are some of the evidence for God's existence.

          "I am an atheist and base my decision solely on logic and reason,"

          You say this and yet believe that it's possible that something could come from nothing which runs contradictory to science and everything observable. To me, this is blind faith, contrary to the evidence.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:42 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....Look....I already admitted that I don't know enough about science to understand every principle of it's properties. But I will tell you one thing. To believe that any god poofed the world into existence with a magic wand goes against every scientific property imaginable, and I just don't buy that reasoning. You will never, ever, ever change my mind without evidential proof, and you have none. You can make all the biblical claims you want, and rationalize that they make sense to you, but they will not ever make sense to me. There have been way to many man-made gods created to explain away the creation of life....you have summarily dismissed all of them but this one. That is your decision. Unless you have clear proof, and not some ramblings by men that wrote the bible, I will not ever be dissuaded. I need proof. Sorry, but that is just the way it is. I am not trying to convince you that I am right, either....I am just telling you that I don't know all the answers, but I do know that your answers are inconceivable in every logical and reasonable sense to me. There are too many variables at play and too many gods that could be the 'the one'.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • observer

          Objective morality has nothing to do with the Bible since Christians can see immorality in it.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:45 pm |
        • redzoa

          "objective morality"

          When you can define "objective beauty" or "objective love" then I might consider there's a plausible argument for "objective morality." Otherwise, at best, what we have is a consensus pulled from individual subjective determinations.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:32 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Why do these need to be defined in relation to objective morality?

          May 10, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • redzoa

          I'm not suggesting they "need" to be defined at all. What I'm simply stating is that if you can offer a plausible argument for how "objective beauty" or "objective love" can or should be defined, then I'll be able to better understand your argument for "objective morality." I think my reasoning and the applicability of these similarly situated intangibles is self-evident . . .

          May 10, 2014 at 12:53 am |
        • truthfollower01

          To me, those are red herrings. When you say objective beauty, are you talking about something like, for example a painting? And whether it is "objectively" beautiful or not?

          May 10, 2014 at 1:02 am |
        • observer

          There is no reliable source for "objective morality". It keeps evolving and we hope that today's more enlightened and intelligent people are getting closer to some perfection if it exists.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:05 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          On atheism, what is the standard of perfection concerning morality?

          May 10, 2014 at 1:08 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          We've been through this many times before.

          And as always, you are COMPLETELY STUMPED about where the morals come from that convince Christians of immorality in the Bible that they still believe in.

          Answer that and you will have the answer to your own question, but you are TOTALLY UNABLE to do that.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:14 am |
        • redzoa

          "To me, those are red herrings. When you say objective beauty, are you talking about something like, for example a painting? And whether it is "objectively" beautiful or not?"

          Yes, a painting will do. Can you define the objective standards for whether a painting is beautiful or not?

          I presume, like morality, we both agree that beauty exists. And like morality, we might agree there are any number of standards by which people declare a painting to be beautiful or not. The analogous question, and thereby not a red herring, is how would you define objective standards for beauty?

          May 10, 2014 at 1:14 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "Yes, a painting will do. Can you define the objective standards for whether a painting is beautiful or not?"

          I would not subscribe to "objective" standards regarding the beauty of a painting. I would say its personal opinion (subjective) as to whether a painting is beautiful or not.

          Do you think that morality is similar to say, one's personal taste of food? Whether something taste good or bad compared to whether an act is morally good or bad?

          May 10, 2014 at 1:22 am |
        • redzoa

          I would say that yes, morality, like taste, beauty and love, are subjective perceptions/conclusions.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:28 am |
        • truthfollower01

          So things like child mo-lestation and ra-pe are just a matter of personal taste to you?

          May 10, 2014 at 1:33 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          As is often the case when it comes to morals, the Bible is more immoral than moral. It is so barbaric and heartless that it says r@pe victims must marry their rapist and can never divorce.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:37 am |
        • redzoa

          "So things like child mo-lestation and ra-pe are just a matter of personal taste to you?"

          In one sense yes, and in another sense no. In the yes sense, I find them immoral based on my subjective perception and interpretation, i.e. "my personal taste." In another sense, no, because in my calculus, the harm to others is a primary consideration, i.e. my "empathy" requires that I consider the "personal tastes" of others, particularly the victims of the crimes you identified.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:41 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "In the yes sense, I find them immoral based on my subjective perception and interpretation, i.e. “my personal taste.” In another sense, no, because in my calculus, the harm to others is a primary consideration, i.e. my “empathy” requires that I consider the “personal tastes” of others, particularly the victims of the crimes you identified."

          But if you wanted to choose a different calculus to warrant an opposite view than the one you currently have, the opposite view would be morally equal in comparison to the view you currently hold.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • redzoa

          "But if you wanted to choose a different calculus to warrant an opposite view than the one you currently have, the opposite view would be morally equal in comparison to the view you currently hold."

          Yes and no. I certainly could have a different personal calculus which would arrive a different, perhaps even contradictory conclusion. However, although a given conclusion need be "objectively" correct, it doesn't follow that they are necessarily "equal." Two conclusions could be ranked better/worse than. Let's take your crime examples:

          I presume you would find ra-pe immoral (as do I), but what if a gun wielding maniac presented you with the choice of either ra-ping a victim or the maniac would immediately kill 2 children. Would it be immoral to ra-pe the victim if this would save the lives of the children? Or phrased differently, would it be immoral not to save the lives of the children?

          May 10, 2014 at 2:06 am |
        • redzoa

          Oops. Should have read: "However, although a given conclusion need NOT be "objectively" correct . . ."

          May 10, 2014 at 2:13 am |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I think it's hilarious that Christians so often head straight to the r a pe and pedo phila as examples of slippery slope morality as if they are completely blind to the whole issue of consent. Grabbing someone and painting a mustache on them is immoral if the subject objects. That is subjective morality. The religious think they get to determine objective beauty along with objective morality as they have deemed many many paintings inappropriate and have gone through periods of art burning in the name of their ignorant god.

          May 10, 2014 at 10:53 am |
        • Doris

          Yes, neverbeen. And truthfollower keeps those blinders on real tight. My stock answer to TF usually goes something like this:

          "Prove that you do not just have a similar opinion that you have derived in the same subjective manner as atheists, only from something that only represents a claimed unsubstantiated source. Prove that objective morality exists without resorting to subjective means. We wouldn't want subjectivity tainting your demonstration of your direct connection to your god."

          Of course then there's the issue that theists differ in their alleged "objective" standards.

          May 10, 2014 at 11:39 am |
      • kermit4jc

        THAT is to assume that God is a CREATION......you have to first show God was created...He is not..the BIble clearly states he had no beginning...as well as Jesus (John 8:58 "Before Abraham was I am" Fact is..you cant ask the question until you show God was created...

        May 11, 2014 at 3:43 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit...oh, now I get it....your god always existed, which is of course, an impossibility. But, I'm sure that won't stop you from believing it, much like your something came from nothing bash won't stop me from searching out how. I trust science quite a bit more than your 2000 year old, bronze age story book. Personally, I can't see how anybody in their right mind wouldn't....especially somebody that is using a computer and the internet to talk with people around the world.

          May 11, 2014 at 8:25 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I tust science too..evolution has nothing to do with computer/internet..hjow is it that impossible that God always existed, not having a beginning? as for science...nothing in the bIble goes against iot..sure you have the plants before the sun...but again..in context that GOD created....He can cause it to happen in HIS way...laws of nature did not exist until there was something for it to influence....the writers of the Bible did not believe in flat earth or the sun revolving around the earth...seems to me you cant see figures of speech, but only false stuff...so why don't you tell the weather man at your local TV station to stop saying surinse and sunset eh?

          May 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....the problem is, you don't know any of that, you may highly suspect it, and you may even believe that, but you don't know it. There are things I suspect and things I know, but I never pass off things I suspect as facts. Christians do..,,and that is what truly bothers atheists.

          May 12, 2014 at 8:27 am |
        • kermit4jc

          WHY cant we knot have knowledge..why is it to you people that we either ONLY believe or suspect? seems rather arrogant as if youre trying to tell us what we think..rather than letting us do out thinking...that kind of thing is dangerous (trying to do our thinking for us)

          May 12, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....I'm only going on definitions of 'suspect', 'believe', 'know', and 'fact'. I dislike atheists that claim they know there is no god just as much as I dislike Christians that claim they know there is a god. Neither case is provable. It is complete arrogance to make either of those claims without any evidence. Me....I highly suspect there is no god based in the evidentiary proof I have been given. I claim nothing more.

          May 12, 2014 at 10:20 am |
        • observer

          kermit4jc

          "as for science...nothing in the bIble goes against it.."

          Right. Science says that it makes perfect sense for the sun and moon to suddenly stop in their orbits.

          May 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @kermit4jc,
          "THAT is to assume that God is a CREATION......you have to first show God was created..."

          Isn't that a 'begging the question' fallacy? Aren't you presuming that God exists in order to demand someone else show that He was created? Show He exists then we can discuss His origins.

          May 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT a tall..SOMEONE asked about GOD being created (an atheists) get the context..so I am NOT begging the question..the person brought up God for sake of the argument.....nice try...

          May 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          Not sure why that would get you off the hook. You are making claims about god(s), being eternal I assume, without showing existence. How is that mitigated by someone else asking about your god(s)?

          May 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm |
    • truthfollower01

      Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University, Quinton Smith indicated that the most rational thing to believe is that the universe came from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing.

      Is this the common skeptic view?

      May 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        I'm afraid I am not intelligent enough to be able to conceive how the universe came about. And, I am also not arrogant enough to say I know exactly how life began. However, I look at things logically and reasonably, and I just can't envision the silliness that is religion in any form. There have been way too many examples of man-made gods throughout time, and the idea of believing in one more is just nonsensical to me. There are too many fallacies and bad decisions that a creator deity would have made to put us into existence, and the rules with which to live by are absolutely insane in this day and age. A true god would have been able to look past the times from 2000 years ago and plan just a little better to avoid the ambiguity of this particular god. That's just my opinion, but I think it is quite reasonable.

        May 9, 2014 at 11:12 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          "However, I look at things logically and reasonably,"

          How can you say this and yet believe that "something could conceivably come from nothing"? It's anti-scientific.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          I already admitted I don't know enough about science. But, just because I don't know doesn't mean that my fall back is a deity with a magic wand that poofed the world into existence. That makes absolutely no logical or reasonable sense to me, so I will just wait patiently for science to continue to progress to the point that they will be able to share more knowledge. Remember...at one point in our existence, not long ago, people actually thought the world was flat. I'll wait.....but I will never, ever believe an invisible sky wizard was the creator of our existence, unless undeniable proof were to appear. And, that probability is quite low.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          "But, just because I don’t know doesn’t mean that my fall back is a deity with a magic wand that poofed the world into existence. That makes absolutely no logical or reasonable sense to me,"

          So your fall back is that something came from nothing? This is by far worst than magic. Think about it. At least in magic you have the magician and hat, which produces the rabbit. On the view you indicated, you don't even have the magician or hat. There's nothing and then something appears.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....nope....sorry....magic is not a more acceptable reason than I don't know yet. Never has been, and never will be. Just because I don't know yet doesn't mean I get to abandon all reason and think magic. I will never be that naïve.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Gullible,

          May I humbly present the Gospel message to you.

          Answer a few questions for me if you would.
          1. How many lies would you say you’ve told in your life?
          2. Have you ever stolen anything regardless of its value?
          3. Have you ever used God’s name as a curse word? (called blasphemy)
          4.have you ever looked at a woman/man lustfully?(if so, Jesus said you have committed adultery with that person in your heart.)
          If you’re like me, you are a self professed lying, stealing, blaspheming adulterer at heart or some form thereof. A holy God must punish wickedness, otherwise He wouldn’t be just. Given your confession, will you be guilty or innocent? If you’re like me and everyone else on this board, you are guilty. However, God provided a way for salvation through the blood of His innocent Son who took the punishment on the cross, that we might be declared innocent. Think of it like this. You’re in a court room. you’re guilty as you’ve professed. Someone walks in and pays your fine for you. Now the judge can legally dismiss your case and let you go. This is the gospel message. What you must do is repent (turn from your sins) and follow Jesus as Lord. This following is enabled by God when He gives you new desires and a heart that wants to please God instead of the flesh.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:53 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          TF....I have no idea if you are just trying to kill some time, but I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, believe in your god unless I have proof. Sorry....just the way I am. There is absolutely nothing you can say that will convert me.....nothing. Produce the proof. By the way....I am not trying to tell you that you are wrong. Your belief works fine for you, but to me it is a monumental waste of my life.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:41 am |
        • observer

          Christian hypocrisy:

          Atheists are wrong because in order for something to exist, something must have created it.
          God exists.
          Nothing created God.
          Then God created EVERYTHING from NOTHING.

          lol.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:54 pm |
        • truthfollower01

          The Christian view is that everything that begins to exist has a cause. God never began to exist. He has always existed.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm |
        • observer

          So material could have always existed too. Big deal.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:04 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          So you posit that material is eternal?

          May 10, 2014 at 12:10 am |
        • observer

          It's a logical as God coming from nothing and then creating everything from nothing.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:15 am |
        • truthfollower01

          To correct, God didn't come from anything. He has always existed. On your view, what was "material" doing 'forever' before it brought the universe into existence?

          May 10, 2014 at 12:18 am |
        • observer

          Maybe material just sat there like you say God did and then "banged". It's as logical as creating EVERYTHING from NOTHING.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:24 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "Maybe material just sat there like you say God did and then “banged”."

          So to clarify, you're saying that material "sat there" 'forever' and then banged?

          You have great faith.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:28 am |
        • redzoa

          "He has always existed."

          Well, and again, this is definitional fiat. You are simply declaring this to be true without any evidence. And again, this is special pleading to escape the premise that everything that has a beginning must be caused. And although apologists discount the notion of a singularity, this is what the evidence indicates at the "beginning" of our recognizable universe. How or why the singularity came to be is unknown although to my knowledge, there are hypotheses which are targeting this. I'm no astrophysicist, but it is possible that the singularity itself existed forever although perhaps in some other form.

          This line of apologist argument is at best a draw, but perhaps doesn't even rise to that level because at least we have physical evidence for the singularity. There remains no physical evidence for an alleged supernatural ent-ity behind the veil.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:29 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01

          "Maybe material just sat there like you say God did and then “banged”."

          "So to clarify, you're saying that material "sat there" 'forever' and then banged? You have great faith."

          truthfollower01

          "Maybe material just sat there like you say God did and then “banged”."

          So to clarify, you're saying that God "sat there" 'forever' and then created EVERYTHING from NOTHING?

          You have great faith and imagination.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:33 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Redzoa,

          We have went round and round concerning the cause statement so I will not comment on this.

          "I’m no astrophysicist, but it is possible that the singularity itself existed forever although perhaps in some other form."

          If it existed forever, what set it off? And why didn't it set off 10 trillion or zillion years ago if it existed forever?

          May 10, 2014 at 12:38 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          I never said that God "sat there" 'forever' as you seem to propose material did. I propose that God has always existed. I believe God created the material universe ex nihilo.

          May 10, 2014 at 12:51 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          So God just poofed into existence and then immediately created everything from NOTHING in 7 days.

          Was that 6,000 years ago?

          May 10, 2014 at 12:57 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Observer....I should have asked about the 6000 year old thing myself. Those people are nuts, and it is quite useless to have any type of intelligent conversation with them.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:01 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          "So God just poofed into existence"

          You seem to be having a hard time following my posts. God did not come into existence. He has ALWAYS existed.

          "Was that 6,000 years ago?"

          If you are a young earth creationist, then you would subscribe to the view of about 6000 years.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:06 am |
        • redzoa

          @TF – I thought this response posted, but apparently not.

          "We have went round and round concerning the cause statement so I will not comment on this."

          You're clearly free to comment or not, but to my knowledge, in our past exchanges you addressed neither the definitional fiat nor the special pleading claims.

          "If it existed forever, what set it off?"

          The honest answer is I don't know. It very well could have been the biblical deity, it could have just as easily been Zeus, or a leprechaun, etc; or it could have been one of thousands of purely natural mechanisms of which we are currently unaware. The non sequitur answer is to insert a preferred cause absent any evidence.

          "And why didn't it set off 10 trillion or zillion years ago if it existed forever?"

          Again, the honest answer is I don't know. Perhaps there is some endless cycle in which singularities coalesce and expand within multiple planes of existence. But again, the same situation applies to the biblical deity in the relative time frame of "before" it got the ball rolling.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:07 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          The 6,000 year figure makes a totally illogical story just more humorous.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:09 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Observer,

          I didn't say I am a young earth creationist.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:15 am |
        • observer

          truthfollower01,

          I didn't say you did. It's your fellow believers who make it such a laugh.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:17 am |
        • truthfollower01

          "Again, the honest answer is I don’t know. Perhaps there is some endless cycle in which singularities coalesce and expand within multiple planes of existence"

          But if this went on 'forever' in the past, why didn't the Big Bang occur 13 trillion years or zillion years or infinitely ago? Think about the problem of the singularity being eternal.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:31 am |
        • redzoa

          "But if this went on 'forever' in the past, why didn't the Big Bang occur 13 trillion years or zillion years or infinitely ago? Think about the problem of the singularity being eternal."

          Again, it may be cyclical with a time-span of "zillions" of years, or it may be for some other reason that we can't imagine. The honest answer is I don't know. It's not a problem unless one requires a true beginning, which I don't.

          May 10, 2014 at 1:34 am |
        • truthfollower01

          Redzoa,

          "Again, it may be cyclical with a time-span of “zillions” of years, or it may be for some other reason that we can’t imagine. The honest answer is I don’t know. It’s not a problem unless one requires a true beginning, which I don’t."

          So to paraphrase, your saying that the "cyclical" action went on 'forever', or eternally in the past and then at some point not too long ago, our universe came out of the endless cycle? Do you see the problem of an actual material infinite as you've proposed? Also, keep in mind that a zillion years is nothing in comparison to infinity.

          May 10, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • redzoa

          "So to paraphrase, your saying that the "cyclical" action went on 'forever', or eternally in the past and then at some point not too long ago, our universe came out of the endless cycle?"

          No. I'm suggesting that what we are experiencing might be within the endless cycle. And again, this is only one hypothetical among an unknowable number of alternatives.

          "Do you see the problem of an actual material infinite as you've proposed? Also, keep in mind that a zillion years is nothing in comparison to infinity."

          No more than you find any problem with an infinite immaterial deity who at some point within an infinite past, initiates the expansion of the universe. I do understand that time is effectively irrelevant.

          May 10, 2014 at 2:12 am |
        • ssq41

          truthfollower01,

          I really like how you avoid redzoa's uncomfortable (and inconvenient) question by claiming you've already answered it somewhere else in another long-ago thread.

          Here's what redzoa wrote to call you on it...and YOU STILL DIDN'T ANSWER IT!
          **********
          redzoa said:

          @TF – I thought this response posted, but apparently not.

          "We have went round and round concerning the cause statement so I will not comment on this."

          You're clearly free to comment or not, but to my knowledge, in our past exchanges you addressed neither the definitional fiat nor the special pleading claims.
          ******

          You earlier offered gulliblenomore to HUMBLY present the Gospel message...in fact, as you've done so many times before in avoiding those questions asked of you, you continue to display a complete lack of honesty, integrity and humility.

          And because of your persistent lack of character, you willingly bring dishonor to the Gospel's message.

          Hey! Nice job!

          May 10, 2014 at 3:57 am |
  7. truthfollower01

    Do atheists and skeptics bel

    May 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      I've never bel in my life.....

      May 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm |
  8. Science Works

    The red hor-ny thimg gets to say his peace – Scalia should be proud – he believes in it !

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/09/florida-towns-choice-violate-supreme-court-ruling-or-open-meeting-with-satanic-prayer/

    Costume included.

    May 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm |
  9. likklehero

    At the establishment of our consti.tutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the consti.tution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account.

    Thomas Jefferson

    He also said something to the affect : The problem with lifetime appointees is that they live too long.

    QUESTION: Does anyone know if or how often SC Justices are tested for dementia (among other issues) and if there are mechanisms for removal other than voluntarily stepping down?

    May 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
    • redzoa

      Justices can be impeached, but to my knowledge, only 1 ever has (Samuel Chase). The standard is very high (bribery, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors). The rationale for lifetime appointment is that unlike the (more) political branches, justices are immune from re-election pressures and the need to pander to any particular political base; but as you suggest, this comes with the risk of disconnect and/or irrational deference to a justice's own predilections. I'd also note that SCOTUS decisions, to have any real force, must be based in some applicable reasoning and logic or else lower federal and state courts will just conveniently interpret the cases before them as outside the applicability of a given SCOTUS opinion. One might say there's a nice analogy between SCOTUS opinions and holy texts, in that if the edicts don't appeal to some self-evident consensus, for better or worse, they'll be re-intepreted to do so.

      On the slightly brighter side, Congress still retains the power to adapt laws around SCOTUS rulings and has done so innumerable times. One such example is the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in response to the SCOTUS ruling in Employment Division v. Smith. In Smith, Scalia (writing for the majority) noted that generally applicable laws with an incidental effect upon religious exercise wouldn't be struck down under a Free Exercise challenge. This level of deference is to a legislature is commonly referred to as "rational-basis" scrutiny, the lowest level of scrutiny for const-itutionality of a law. In other words, if the legislature's intent and reasoning is the least bit plausible, the law is likely to survive rational-basis scrutiny. RFRA was the congressional response to a perceived threat to religious exercise and clarified the standards set forth in Smith. Under RFRA, if a plaintiff can show a given law, even if generally applicable (i.e. not directly targeting religious practices), places a "substantial burden" on religious exercise, the law will not stand. However, RFRA also provides that despite a showing of a "substantial burden," if the government can show a "compelling interest" (that is, the law is necessary to achieve some const-itutionally permissible goal) and the means to achieve this interest is the "least restrictive" means (that is, there's really no alternative way), then the law will will stand. In essence, RFRA elevated the rational-basis scrutiny under Smith to a heightened strict scrutiny standard of judicial review. Strict scrutiny is the highest standard for review and it's very difficult for a law to survive under this standard. RFRA and the notion of "substantial burden" is currently at issue in the Hobby Lobby challenge to Obamacare provisions requiring larger employees to provide insurance which includes methods of birth control that some religious sects view as immoral.

      Lastly, I'd note that despite stare decisis, no SCOTUS ruling is written in stone. They can and do occasionally revisit prior rulings to pull them into conformity with modern circ-umstances and understanding of what the law "should" be.

      May 10, 2014 at 12:19 am |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the const.ituents.

    The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people.

    The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

    James Madison – Memorial And Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

    May 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
    • sealchan

      As a Christian I support the rights of non-Christians to participate in their common government free from the religious sentiments of others. As a Christian I do not fear that my faith is at risk if I do not find every possible opportunity to impose it upon others. Pushy faith is insecurity.

      May 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        I agree with you completely. This is about intentionally dominating minorities.

        May 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
        • Doris

          Yes. And great section of the Memorial and Remonstrance, not(GOPer).

          I really think this ruling will eventually add to the ten overturns already on record, but after, or course, the Congressional chaplaincy is ceased as per Madison's final vision. It will take some time yet I think.

          May 8, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
  11. bostontola

    Do religious minorities have a prayer?

    Does religion have a prayer?
    In not many years, the evidence of evolution will be too complete for even devout religious people to deny. Humans will have created life in the laboratory. Humans will have depleted the earths resources, many more species will have gone extinct due to 'man's dominion'. So many religious precepts will be shown false.

    Some Religions will become extinct, the survivors will have to recede to explain go that their sacred texts are all allegory. Religion will only live in the "why" zone. They will compete on what our purpose is, etc. and stay clear of how. They will be philosophy. I look forward to that.

    May 8, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • gulliblenomore

      Boston....unfortunately, not in our lifetimes. There will always be people that need a crutch to get through life.....drug, alcohol, or religion. They have such pathetic earthly lives that their only hope will be something beyond their earthly bounds.

      May 8, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • benhoody

        People believe in God and it really bothers you, how pathetic is that?

        May 9, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • kermit4jc

          @benhoody...so true...it seems almost hypocritical...I mean many of these people depend on SOME person in their lives....isn't that what friends do? so if God is a crutch..so are friends and family and counselors..anyone they seek to get help from..so as I said..they seem to be quite hypocritical in saying God is a crutch for us

          May 9, 2014 at 2:07 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....the difference is....the people I depend on are real.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:43 am |
        • benhoody

          Not as real as the Amighty Being that created them. How real will they be at the end of your life when they can't help you at all? What happens when your life ends and the only real crutch to lean on turns out to be the one you hate, make fun of, mock and reject. I believe in God and millions of others do as well, you don't, who cares, it will all come out in the wash, but don't let what others believe bother you so much, like I said, who really cares what anyone believes.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ben....again, what you think is real is not necessarily real (if you have evidential proof, and not some 2000 year old book, present it please). I really, truly don't worry about the wrath of your invisible god. If his 'truth' was so evident, please explain why only 30% of the worlds population believes in him after 2000 years? But...I will tell you why it bothers me so much. You loonies are out in the same world I am, and that kind of crazy scares me. I have no idea where you are, either. But, what is even worse, is you nuts are desperately trying to inflict your god on me in the way of assorted laws and other legislation. I do not need your god crutch....and, neither do all the intelligent life forms on this planet.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: You idiot!! Friends and family exist, gods can't be shown to exist. It must be a lonely existence if you need imaginary friends.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:28 am |
        • rickdday

          It's not pathetic at all. It is legitimate frustration.

          You really need to get over yourself. You don't speak for your god you have no way of knowing it's 'will' if it had one. You are not a special snowflake of Jesus. You are a bit of stardust on a rock whirling around a fireball, going places you have never been and never will be. And you will die like all of us and then you get to find out who was right. Until then PRAY TO YOURSELF.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • kermit4jc

          and you don't speak for us either....we already know..we do not have to wait

          May 9, 2014 at 9:45 am |
        • benhoody

          I will continue to pray to Almighty God even though for some far out reason that bothers or frustrates you. I do know Gods will, it's in his written word which he inspired men of God to make sure it is there for us. If you don't like it or believe it then that's up to you, but millions of others disagree with you so let them alone to believe what they want. We will all find out I the end so quit worrying about it, you'll go nuts. How fantastic it is though knowing the real truth.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ben: Definition of truth – the quality or state of being true.
          "he had to accept the truth of her accusation"
          synonyms: veracity, truthfulness, verity, sincerity, candor, honesty; More
          accuracy, correctness, validity, factuality, authenticity
          "he doubted the truth of her statement"
          antonyms: dishonesty, falseness
          •that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.
          noun: the truth "tell me the truth"
          synonyms: what actually happened, the case, so.

          Just because you believe something does not make it the truth....and especially not the real truth.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
        • benhoody

          Just be ause I believe something doesn't make it the truth, it doesn't make it not the truth either. I have proven to myself it is the truth otherwise I wouldn't believe it, so to me it is the truth, you believe whatever you want.

          May 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ben...I have no problem with you believing your personal truth. My objection is on you calling it the 'real truth'.

          May 9, 2014 at 7:46 pm |
        • benhoody

          It was just a simple choice of words and you even get upset at that. What is your problem, does everyone have to adhere to your way of thinking, give us a break. I really don't care if you are so called offended because I call it real truth and you don't like that, to me it is real truth, if you don't like it, too bad, to me that's what is is. Quit being a picky crybaby and realize there are many others who disagree with you.

          May 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ben....well, up to now, we had just been having a civil conversation, but after that last one, I can just simply reply...Fvck you! Oh....and, try acting more Christianlike in your next life...you aren't doing so well in this one azzhole.

          May 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • benhoody

          Why would you object to me calling it the real truth, to me that's what it is, why would that bother you, It wouldn't bother me as to what you called it, that's up to you, who cares, it doesn't offend me what you believe, why should it bother you what I believe. It doesn't matter who you or what you object too, who cares, we also object to you.

          May 9, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          ben....nope....done.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Ben....stupidity in any form bothers me.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:41 am |
        • likklehero

          There is no such thing as "personal truth" – it is an oxymoron.

          May 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • kudlak

          benhoody
          " I have proven to myself it is the truth"
          Every deluded person can say the same, correct?

          May 9, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      "Humans will have created life in the laboratory"
      ---------–
      And when they have, they would have only proven that only intelligence can create anything.

      May 8, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
      • bostontola

        Firemen put out fires. Does that mean only firemen can put out fires? Of course not.

        Same goes for creation. Mountains are created by tectonic plate movement, no intelligence required.

        May 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          More like firemen set fires deliberately to study how to best fight them, but that doesn't mean that fires don't start by other means.

          May 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        typical theo nonsense.

        May 8, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • igaftr

        "And when they have, they would have only proven that only intelligence can create anything"

        That is obviously a false statement. It will prove that OUR intelligence can create life, not that intelligence is required. That is ANOTHER leap to conclusion that is an illogical jump.

        May 8, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
      • kudlak

        Theo Phileo
        "Humans will have created life in the laboratory"
        There are also scientists who are experimenting in how life could have arisen naturally. They necessarily do this in a lab, where conditions can be managed, but that doesn't mean that they are no less recreating what may have happened in nature.

        This reminds me of the creationist argument against dog breeding supporting evolution. Clearly, selective breeding can cause dramatic changes in a creature like a dog, so what does it matter whether it's humans doing the selecting of traits, or nature preferring certain traits based on suitability to survive? It's still the same process.

        May 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm |
      • sealchan

        ...re-create anything...evolution and complexity science show how order can form "spontaneously" out of the interaction of parts in a complex, interactive system. But to recreate something that already exists in great detail requires intelligence.

        May 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        @theo..plus..these atheists who bring this up..about creating life...they don't realize also that its not merely life..btu spirit and soul..which they can not give...like God gives..so thus their argument fails in that way too....

        May 9, 2014 at 2:00 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          We apparently realize a lot more than you could ever wish to! Such as the fact that god, a soul, an afterlife can't be shown to exist-kind of like your ability to think logically or your ability to stop lying!

          May 9, 2014 at 4:30 am |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          No spirit or soul, and probably no chakras, or animal guides either.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:09 am |
        • kermit4jc

          the POINT was...the other blogger tied a feeble attempt to equate their "creating" with Gods...then show how sadistic and such it is....and I showed them that their attempt was poor in trying to prove their point

          May 9, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • sam stone

          Kermy: You cannot establish the existence of a spirit or a soul

          Until you do, it is all just wishful thinking

          Kind of like god

          May 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • kudlak

          kermit4jc
          It would have been "feeble" if you could have demonstrated that your God's supposed creations were actually different from the experimental ones, right?

          May 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          for arguments sake...the blogger supposed a God of the Bible...and likened that to a human being genetically creating humans.....it is no way a good analogy as again...the bIble shows a peson having a spirit..a soul...and the analogy doesnot present that

          May 9, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, No the bible may claim spirit and soul, and that they are god-given, but none of that has been proven – starting with the existence of a god.

          May 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          again the blogger supposed an existence of God for arguments sake...please use the context oft hat for my argument....

          May 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm |
      • rickdday

        Those beans I had last night created gas.

        Should I now worship the bean?

        May 9, 2014 at 9:04 am |
        • likklehero

          Well they are a magical fruit after all.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Pew Study: nearly a third of all millennials – Americans between the ages of 18-33 – are religiously unaffiliated, a dramatic and ongoing change from previous generations.

      It's the information age, religious people are finding it impossible to keep their children in their cult's bubble of lies. With access to facts, children are seeing the foolishness of religion and joining the world of reality. Christianity is dying out, and it's going to happen a lot quicker than anyone expects. A couple more generations and the christian sky fairy will be in a category with Thor and Zeus as a quaint primitive supersti.tion.

      May 8, 2014 at 3:12 pm |
      • bostontola

        doG,
        I agree with the dynamic of information growth and availability sterilizing religion. What is less predictable is the adaptations religions innovate. I expect some denominations to relegate the bible to parable status. The leadership will carve out a role interpreting the meaning of life from the books. The ones that do it effectively will survive as many people crave ultimate meaning, purpose, and leadership.

        May 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "I expect some denominations to relegate the bible to parable status."
          ------------------

          I think that Catholicism did this with much of the bible decades or perhaps centuries ago. It is already a big aspect of the SBNR camps. The logical conclusion is organized "SBNR" religions.

          More Unitarianism perhaps?

          May 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm |
        • bostontola

          no GOPer,
          Entirely possible.

          To me, an ironic part of this is that Christianity evolves. The genus Christianity has been through an adaptive radiation into over 40,000 species of Christianity (Christianitus Cathilicus, Christianitus Lutheranus, etc.). So Christianity evolves just like theory predicts, but many of them don't believe in evolution. That's kind of fun.

          May 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          And the species fight each other for dominance too!

          It's a fun analogy.

          May 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
  12. dvdrichards1115

    SeaVik
    What right is being infringed upon? Your right not to be offended? You said people can pray when it is their turn to speak, well if the leaders of the council meeting pray at the beginning of the meeting...it is their turn to speak. Here is the problem as I see it. I have never said I agree with prayer in the town council meeting. The Supreme Court said it was okay, so the fight is over. My point is this, there is no harm but being offended. There is no proof of discrimination, people being excluded or ignored. I am offended by many things my gov't does, I can get offended by what people say in public meetings, some of the stuff I have seen in public meetings bores me, makes me wish I wasn't there, but at the end of the day...I am fine and I move on. People praying is akin to someone talking to themselves in public, I can ignore them, no problem. There a lot of things in this Universe worthy of debate and should offend us to the point we take action, this is not one of them in my opinion.
    Your statements like "I don't get it" or "I need to focus" display the arrogance of the atheist. Agnostics get it, they don't claim Universal knowledge, they put forth opinions because both non believers and believers can only claim to believe not know if there is a God or not. In this issue you seem to want to sway me or show me how wrong my OPINION is, too bad. You have your opinion. SCOTUS says you are wrong, so deal with it.

    May 8, 2014 at 8:53 am |
    • igaftr

      Do you go to work, and start every business meeting with prayer?
      If you took any college classes, did they start class with a prayer?

      Why not?

      May 8, 2014 at 8:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Establishment Clause, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce nonobserving individuals or not.

      When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain.

      – Supreme Court of the United States ruling in Engel v. Vitale, 1962

      May 8, 2014 at 9:47 am |
    • SeaVik

      Can you complete this sentence?

      “Even though starting a government meeting with a religious prayer is offensive to many, considered a violation of our const.itution by many, makes many feel ostracized and as if their voice will not be given equal consideration to those who are religions, I think we should still start of government meetings with prayers because _____________.”

      I have yet to see anyone come close to completing this thought.

      “What right is being infringed upon?”

      My right to be treated and heard as an equal in government matters despite the fact that I am not a Christian is in serious question when a meeting starts with a Christian prayer. Even if you don’t think this is the case, I do, and if there is any doubt, why do we need to start with a prayer?

      “You said people can pray when it is their turn to speak, well if the leaders of the council meeting pray at the beginning of the meeting...it is their turn to speak.”

      Yes, individual citizens. Not those leading the meeting as part of the structure of the meeting.

      “Your statements like "I don't get it" or "I need to focus" display the arrogance of the atheist.”

      I don’t recall making those statements. What are you talking about?

      “Agnostics get it, they don't claim Universal knowledge, they put forth opinions because both non believers and believers can only claim to believe not know if there is a God or not.”

      Seems like you don’t get it. Atheists don’t claim Universal knowledge, nor do they claim to know there is no god. We just don’t believe there is a god any more than we believe there is a Tooth Fairy.

      “In this issue you seem to want to sway me or show me how wrong my OPINION is, too bad. You have your opinion. SCOTUS says you are wrong, so deal with it.”

      You have yet to explain why you think we should have a prayer in a government meeting, so your position is weak. I don’t really care about your opinion, I care about whether or not anyone can offer a decent reason that we should have prayer in a government meeting. So far, no one has. You’re pretty naïve if you think that once the SCOTUS decides a matter, it is settled for good. It’s just a matter of time before this is overturned as this is a blatant violation of our const.itution.

      May 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm |
      • dvdrichards1115

        “Even though starting a government meeting with a religious prayer is offensive to many, considered a violation of our const.itution by many, makes many feel ostracized and as if their voice will not be given equal consideration to those who are religions, I think we should still start of government meetings with prayers because this is a country that believes in the free expression of ones beliefs and opinions without fear of percecution.”
        So now I have finished your sentence, you can no longer claim no one has answered you. What you will do now is disqualify the answer for your own reasons and then you willcondescend and tell me why I don't understand or get it...failing once again to understand that I have never once saud that the council should pray, i don't think they should. I have never said they should. BUT I believe they should have the right to say it. I think you should have the right ot counter it with a statement criticizing the idea of God and prayer in public meetings or schools or any gov't led group meeting. I was offended by the idiot Christians in the house this morning that disrupted the Hindu prayer at the open of congress. You will not find me defending the actions of Christians who act stupid. I only defend the right to practice your beliefs in public, or your non belief. Don't care.
        It is you that wants to limit expression.

        May 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
        • James XCIX

          dvdrichards1115 -"...this is a country that believes in the free expression of ones beliefs and opinions without fear of percecution."

          I think everyone is agreeing with that sentiment. However, what many are expressing is concern that opening with a sectarian prayer is an insidious method of identifying those who believe differently than the one leading the prayer, which could lead to the persecution to which you refer.

          May 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • dvdrichards1115

          James
          You think that people are opening these meetings with prayer as an "insidious method of identifying those who believe differently than the one leading the prayer"
          I hope you are wrong. I can only speak for me, but when I pray, I have no motive except to talk to the Creator I believe in. I think most people who believe in prayer don't have insidious reasons for it...I am open to the idea that I am wrong, but the paranoia of many on this blog is disturbing.
          So i think the best thing for me to do is this.

          I do not think nor have I ever thought prayer should be said at the opening of Gov't meetings. I think silent prayer is sufficient for the believers. I apologize if I have ever made non believers feel like they are lesser people than me because you do not believe in God I do not htink or feel that, never have. I believe, and have reasons that go far beyond my parents or indoctrination. No I cannot prove there is a God, nor do I claim to KNOW that I am right. I do not believe that ll things that exist can be proven nor do I believe that all things that exist produce or provide evidence. I am educated, hold three degrees, one under and two graduate level. I am not anti gay, I am not opposed to other beliefs being represented in the public sector, including non-belief. I also believe that religious people have done great damage to this planet and to the faith they say they represent. I do not interpret the Bible literally. But I believe it is of great value, and I do believe depsite its flaws that God inspired the writing, humans screwed it up, like we screw up just about everything.
          I find the atheist trolls on this blog to be closed minded and arrogant, but I respect their right to their closed mind and arrogant views. I do not belive all non belivers on this blog are closed minded trolls, but their are many.
          That's aboiut all I have left to say.

          May 8, 2014 at 3:55 pm |
        • James XCIX

          dvdrichards1115 – Thanks for the reply. I don't think pre-meeting prayer will always be used for identification of those with different beliefs, but I hope you can see that it easily can be used that way (especially if the solution is for those who believe differently to leave the room!), and can therefore lead to persecution. The founding fathers knew the recent history of the European and British sectarian wars and wanted to avoid the same here.

          May 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You are applying Freedom of Speech to the government. I believe it only applies to individual citizens. The people leading those meetings are acting in a government capacity and should not be praying, which is effectively the endorsement of a specific religion by our government. As I have said, I have no objection to an individual praying when it's their turn to speak. Of course, it would be completely out of place, but perfectly legal. The government endorsing religion is a completely different story.

          May 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Anyway, thanks for completing the sentence. It allowed us to isolate our difference. You think Freedom of Speech applies to the government and I think it is for individuals.

          May 8, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
        • kudlak

          dvdrichards1115
          And, yet, group prayers do serve as a means of identifying denominational and sectarian groups. When said in churches, they establish the common creed of core beliefs that identify one faith group from others. Depending on the wording of a prayer, you can largely identify even the intended denomination that usually employes something like it, correct? Catholic prayers are different from Baptist prayers, and so on.

          So, isn't it at least conceivable that whichever prayers that are said in these meetings are alienating other Christians as well as non-Christians? If the whole council prays in a particular way, isn't that communicating the message that only members of their particular faith are invited to serve in this government?

          To a lot of us, such demonstrations of specific prayers are like dogs marking their territory, and clearly a message that not everyone is actually welcome to participate in something labelled as "public". They say the same prayers in church establishing that everyone there believes generally the same thing, and the implication is that the same thing is being established in every meeting that features the same thing. Tell me, is that something that any government really wants to say?

          May 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
  13. Reality

    Thu-mping bible babble anywhere is part of our right to free speech guaranteed by the Const-itution. As more come to realize the time wasted on said babble, there will be less and less of it said anywhere.

    May 8, 2014 at 7:04 am |
  14. bostontola

    Let's go forward a few years and imagine you are a genetic scientist engineering a life form. You design it with certain characteristics you know are lacking and you program in a profound pain switch for training. You then train it to know you, love you, and serve you. You train it that if it performs poorly in the areas it is lacking, it will be punished. You then inform it that if it doesn't love you when it dies, the profound pain will persist eternally.

    Who would do that? Not many people, and none I would want to associate with.

    May 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      Who would do that? Only a sadistic psychopath, the Christian god. Only a religion can make one think that this is ok and the rest of us are supposed to respect this because it's religion.

      May 7, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • bostontola

        It is really hard to understand why some people accept behavior by a God that would never be accepted of a human.

        May 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        as I posted to bost already..he left out much info and he likened God to be merely human only and nothing more as a Creator.....thus yes...THAT descrption (from bost) is sadistic..but that does NOT fully describe God

        May 8, 2014 at 1:57 am |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          I would think that most people reading 1 short paragraph (the OP) would know that it is not a complete description of the biblical God. It captures part of it. But you can't ignore that part either. The OT God loves his chosen people, but it's cruel to others. The biblical God establishes laws, rules, codes of conduct much more complex than I laid out for sure, but the point remains the same.

          The bible tells the story of a God that created us imperfect. Version 1.0 (Adan & Eve) failed right out of the gate. This God then blames all succeeding humans for being sinners that require redemption. This God has a son, that is also God. He is killed, sacrificed to atone for that sin, at a price. If that price isn't paid, most Christians believe that person will be subjected to eternal punishment.

          I'm sorry, but the fuller version doesn't get less sadistic. Now that version is not complete either. There is no version based on the bible that gets less sadistic, so the OP represents a fair analogy. You wouldn't associate with a person who did that experiment, yet you love the God that purportedly did it. Your choice, I'm glad it brings you happiness and fulfillment. I find it doesn't fit my world or moral view.

          May 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      very bad analogy! YOu said imagine a human doing this! God is not a mere human..He is more thn just a Creator...God is HOLY, JUST..He is a JUDGe...we are not! we are not the standard of perfection..so yes....in your conclusion....you cannot associate with it..nor can I....but THANK God it wasn't a HUMAN who created us and all..but a PERFECT, JUST and HOLY God who has PERFECT love unlike us!

      May 8, 2014 at 1:52 am |
      • cowanpa253

        Hey Kermit4jc,
        I respect your position, but what would happen if a pagan chaplain gave the blessing or invocation before a government meeting? As far as religion and politics well, I think it insults the professed religion when a politician professes his undying faith and adherence. Chances are they are the biggest hypocrites on the face of the planet. Personally I would prefer to keep religion out of government hands.

        May 8, 2014 at 7:26 am |
        • kermit4jc

          @ cowanpa "I think it insults the professed religion when a politician professes his undying faith and adherence." what do you mean by that...as far as if pagan ones do the invocation..I don't mind.... I been saying this a number of times in the blogs now, that if someone other than Christian did this at a meeting...I will tune them out if I choose to....my point had been...why cant anyone else tune people out..as if I was the only one with this talent

          May 8, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          So you go to meetings to tune people out?
          Isn't the point of a meeting to be heard? A more appropriate solution, is to NOT have any religious displays at a governemnt business meeting. A meeting is where you go to be heard, so "tuningpeople out" is the most counterproductive thing you can do. THAT is why tuning out people is wrong...it goes against the very reason for the meeting.

          May 8, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • kermit4jc

          wow you really are stretching things a bit aren't ya..a prayer is not voicing something as in the rest of the town meetings....you are grasping at straws.......

          May 8, 2014 at 11:56 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          FOr you to understand my point, you apparently will need to take some classes in psychology, since you clearly do not understand emotional transference, where you actively try to ignore an individual for one thing, you will not be able to fully engage that person after that. It is a basic psychological principal.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I DO understand your point..I have a degree in psychology! yet when one DOES realize about the transference...and sets his mind to pay attenbtion it CAN happen..I have done it before....as I said...I don't think IM the only one with this talent..and teens are a perfct example..from what you seem to imply..teens would never listen to their parents after tuning out a portion of what they have said..also..you forget..we actually DO tuen people out from time to time as well...involuntarily..we have certain amount of attention span....so truly..no one ever listens to every single word anyways....

          May 8, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, I doubt that the reality would be as easy as you suggest. The first part of every meeting taken up by a non-business activity which at a minimum doesn't interest you and possibly offends you, you'd have to pay attention to a certain extent to know when the business started. And that's ignoring the agenda of the speakers, i.e. to establish a religion. Imagine having a timeshare pitch to open each meeting.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          then I guess its easier for some than others..I have done it....I have spoken with others who done same thing....

          May 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and praying is NOT an agenda to establish religion at all...maybe SoME will take it to that extreme..but for the most part....with the right intention (as many do) it is nOT an agenda to do so

          May 8, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
        • bacbik

          "I have a degree in psychology! "

          Really? You're all over the place with that reply. Which college? Maybe you can get a refund.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          I hope you don't practise psychology – you don't appear to have much empathy.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          "and praying is NOT an agenda to establish religion at all'
          True for the most part, but putting on a public display of your religion at a government business meeting is. It is simply the wrong time and place for a public display of your religion.

          Should I go to your mass and delay it by talking about town finances or zoning issues? No, because it is the worng time and place...same with religious displaysin governemnt BUSINESS meetings.

          ANd you cannot completely tune anyone out Update your degree, since you obviously missed class when they covered perception and the sub-conscious. You cannot turn off your sub-conscious, and you should know that.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first of all..your analogy of coming to mass (I am not Catholic btw) is bad....cause first of all..you imply something that takes much time when prayer only takes a minute or even less...second....I Never said one can completely tuen them out....don't tell me to update my degree..i WORK in the field as well....ok? diont be so judgmental about my education and assuming..as I said..i Never even implied completely doing it

          May 9, 2014 at 1:52 am |
      • bostontola

        kermit,
        That is my point, I find the whole Abrahamic God/Jesus foundation to be decidedly imperfect. If this foundation is perfect for you you are very fortunate to have found your perfect spiritual mate. It doesn't work for me at all.

        May 8, 2014 at 7:38 am |
        • kermit4jc

          well..your argument does not support this as it does NOT describe in anyway the Abrahamic God

          May 8, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          I would think that most people reading 1 short paragraph (the OP) would know that it is not a complete description of the biblical God. It captures part of it. But you can't ignore that part either. The OT God loves his chosen people, but its cruel to others. The biblical God establishes laws, rules, codes of conduct much more complex than I laid out for sure, but the point remains the same.

          The bible tells the story of a God that created us imperfect. Version 1.0 (Adan & Eve) failed right out of the gate. This God then blames all succeeding humans for being sinners that require redemption. This God has a son, that is also God. He is killed, sacrificed to atone for that sin, at a price. If that price isn't paid, most Christians believe that person will be subjected to eternal punishment.

          I'm sorry, but the fuller version doesn't get less sadistic. Now that version is not complete either. There is no version based on the bible that gets less sadistic, so the OP represents a fair analogy. You wouldn't associate with a person who did that experiment, yet you love the God that purportedly did it. Your choice, I'm glad it brings you happiness and fulfillment. I find it doesn't fit my world or moral view.

          May 8, 2014 at 1:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          The OP doesnot show a fair anaology...you think it is sadistic cause you cant seem to comprehend a JUST God a HOLY God..you seem to imply this god runs merely by FEELINGS (He feels like judging..etc) when it is Gods NATURE to be JUDGE, Holy and Righteous...God gave man the ability to CHOOSe...that is giving man DIGNITY..and MAN chooses to REJECT God...and sows what he reaps..and then YOu sound like you don't like consequences to your choices as well.....so thus is is nOT a fair look at all...there is nOTHING sadistic about a God being JUST and Holy...SIn can NOT enter into Gods full presence..not merely cause he wants it that way..but because of His HOLY nature it simply can NOT coexist within His presence...thus OUT of love..god made a WAY to have sins paid for so that we don't HAVE to go to hell...but thenm people still make the choices..and they have to live with it

          May 9, 2014 at 1:56 am |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          We agree on one thing, I can't comprehend that the biblical God is love, caring, or real. Why? The bible tells me so. You're a very fortunate person, your rose colored glasses fit perfectly.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:47 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I don't wear rose colored glasses.....sorry ...I see that love does not mean we are trouble free or such..especially in a world steeped in sin...I am IN this world still..and I will suffer effects of my own sin (if I do something bad I will reap what I saw) and I will also suffer fromanother persons sins (a person hates me enough they kill me) God never promised that we would have a trouble free life here....until all sin is done away with....in God love...He made a way for me to not go to hell..by sending one to pay that penalty for me....

          May 9, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • bostontola

          Rose colored glasses with respect to seeing the biblical God as perfect. I see a very imperfect God created in the minds of imperfect men.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:01 am |
        • kermit4jc

          By what standard do you say imperfect..what is the standard for perfect?

          May 9, 2014 at 11:47 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit..,,I can't answer for Boston, but my idea of perfect would be a planet free from horrible diseases, especially ones that affect little children. Perfect would be a totally understandable belief and not such an ambiguous trail to follow. Perfect would be considerable more harmonious than what we are currently experiencing. Perfect would be broccoli that taste like chocolate. I could go on and on.

          May 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          yes..so you are looking only at the here and now which is temporary...plus it seems you would rather a God who would be a puppet master without us having any say to make any decisions.....the reason there is so much trouble in this world is man..he has made terrible choices (not saying the children who are starving made the choices-but because of adults who make wrong choices, the children are affected)...the Bible is clear on most everything (yes..a very few ambiguities) and again man is the reason...since in my own experience..I see humans read the Bible as if it were written originally by modern day americans using modern day English....one has to remember that the Bible was written from a Jewish culture of 2000 plus years ago..so what seems ambiguous to the western mind, was not to the Eastern mind) and we can understand better if we all studied the Biblical Jewish culture and history

          May 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....I know a family whose daughter has cystic fibrosis....a horrible disease. They did nothing wrong at all. I'm not asking for a puppet master, but a perfect, loving deity simply would not allow cystic fibrosis to exist. That one aspect is actually enough of a reason to not believe any deity created this universe. Add to that the hundreds of other reasons and I can't understand how anybody can believe in any god.

          May 9, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          The biblical God is imperfect in fact, morals, and justice.
          Facts: This God didn't know how the universe was actually created, it didn't recognize any physical feature of the universe or form of life unknown to humans at the time (no galaxies, no microorganisms, etc.). It didn't know that the earth rotated on its axis, that the earth orbits the sun or that the moon orbits the earth. This god didn't know that bats are mammals not birds. It didn't know that Pi is a transcendental number, not 3.
          Morality: this God allows and regulates the ownership of one person by another. It instructs the chosen people to kill all its enemies, including children, but preserve and keep the property.
          Justice: this God punishes people for crimes committed by others, including children not born yet. This God creates imperfect people then demands love or infinite punishment will be imposed.

          These are just a sampling. I'm sure you have explanations and interpretations to make it all perfect. I read the bibles. My read leads me to conclude the biblical God is a creation of men of that time, not a transcendent, perfect being.

          May 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          sorry..but your "God didn't know how earth rotated on its axis and diatribe is not Biblical and not descriptive of the Christian God.....first, the Bible is nOT a science book..but HISTORY..it did not purport ti give a scienbce lesson..second..the Bible uses EVERYDAY common language to the common man...thirdly..nowhere does the BIble say the earthg is flat, and all this stuff you posted...as for morality..God nbever punshed children for their parents crimes....death isnot always a punishment.....cause the ultimate punishment is eternal life in hell....you are looking at wrong perspective there here and now in a temporary world

          May 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          kermit,
          The bible doesn't have to be a science book. There are children's books that get creation right using simple language. Genesis is plain wrong, false, primitive ideas.

          God proudly punished children of transgressors:
          Numbers 14:18
          18The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.

          Deny al you want. The bible is flawed and the God it describes is flawed and imperfect.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          MP Denial; at all..you just dont have a clue as to what INIQUITY is! The chidren are NOT being PUNISHED...what they HAVE is the EFFECTS of evil of their forefathers..etc...let me give you an example..a mother uses drugs while she is pregnant..the baby has iniquity visited on it in that the drugs will have an effect on him..namely brain damage or such...what the OCNTEXT and the word iniquity means is that the children will siffer the EFFECTS of the sins...sorry dude...try again....

          May 11, 2014 at 3:39 am |
      • rickdday

        Your indoctrination into the Dark Side is complete. Here, have a light saber.

        #smh I believe my football team will win every game. Because I believe, it is reality.

        Glad it really does not work that way, this 'belief' which is another way of 'suspending reality'.

        May 8, 2014 at 8:06 am |
      • gulliblenomore

        Wow, Kermit....you really do need to be out on a street corner somewhere. Look around the newspaper today and tell me where you find any examples of this 'perfect love' you speak of. Heck, just read the news out of Chicago for that matter....

        May 8, 2014 at 8:13 am |
        • rickdday

          Funny thing about Christians like kermit. They are still upset even when they win.

          "Why can't everyone just shut up and love the Lord? Where's the harm?"

          These people scare me.

          May 8, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • kermit4jc

          funny thing about athgeists like rick...they like to think we are upset..Im not upset at all.....get a life rick

          May 8, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • kermit4jc

          you ASSUME perfect love means we have NO troubles......like God is a genie in a magic lamp..thats not my God..sorry.....but SIN is the trouble...when someone murders iut is because the murderer has made a choice to do bad...God is NOT a puppetmaster as youd like him to be..and this world is TEMPORARY.....don't tell me to look outside..I KNOW what happens.

          May 8, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....why do you insist upon capitalizing so many words within your posts? It's completely unnecessary and only points out the craziness of the rest of your message. Of course, if you really wish to continue posting the way you do and be thought a fool, then by all means go ahead. The way your silly god operates is so unworthy of my worship, I can't even begin to fathom following any element of his rules. He doesn't exist to me. That's all.

          May 8, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • kermit4jc

          well..from what I seen in the blogs....you don't even KNOW my God......thus you cant judge that he is operating in a silly way.....you are judging some god that does not exist in my mind.....youre judging something you made up in yours

          May 8, 2014 at 11:58 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....your god is invisible and imaginary, which makes him worthless to know. But you are right....I don't know which one of the thousands of gods you worship...could be Zeus for all I know. However, the result is the same. They are all invisible and useless.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          but yu are attemptiong to judge MY God..and youre doing poorly at it since you don't know him..thus your saying that his ways are silly is moot

          May 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....I think you misunderstood my point. I believe all gods are imaginary and useless, so by default, that makes whatever god you believe in useless and imaginary.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          that's fine then..your opinion

          May 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit....since nobody can either prove or disprove the existence of any god, then my opinion is there are no gods and it is your opinion there is a god. Neither of our opinions are fact.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          You got that half right.. I did notprove to myself God existsed...nor did anyone else do it for me..God did this...I don't have an opinion God exists..I have knowledge He exists....if you want to disagree , fine...

          May 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit.....by that logic, I can say that no god has made a personal appearance to me, so therefore, it's not my opinion that there is no god, it's a fact to me. So....sounds like we have agreed to drop the 'opinion' line. We both know our positions as factual. If god were to make an appearance, I would change my mind.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "God did this"

          How exactly do you know it is god kermi? And how exactly are you so certain it is the god of the bible?
          It is extremely dishonest to say that god did this when there is zero evidence that any god exists. Back your claims with actual evidence for a change....you sound crazy making it otherwise.

          May 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  15. observer

    kermit4jc,

    (Matt. 7:12) “Treat others as you want them to treat you. THIS IS WHAT THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS ARE ALL ABOUT.” - [Jesus]

    Ever read it?

    May 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      EXACTLY..and we are NOT treating you in a bad way...You are allowing that in your own mind......you havwe taken that too far as if we cant do ANYTHING..I mean serisouly dude..if we had to stop doing anything tha toffends someone else..we not do a thing at all..wed almost not even breath...EVERYONE offendes someone at one time or another..its a par of LIFE and it is NOT always intentional......besides...AS I reported earlier..I do NOT mind of a Muslim said a prayer...or an atheist came up and did something..i IGBNORE as I have done before...it does not bother me....

      May 7, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
      • bostontola

        "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-28)

        May 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          thanks boston..we all needed a reminder

          May 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
      • observer

        kermit4jc,

        If atheists tried to be allowed to have equal time at government meetings to present comments on "Why God is Dead", Christians would go berserk and you KNOW it. Skip your trip to fantasyland. It's good that you are more liberal than many Christians, but that is certainly not applicable to the VAST MAJORITY of them.

        May 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          EXCUSE ME? I was referring to MYSELF and few others..sure..there WILL be a few who does that..so what? besides your analogy doesn't work...prayer is not a lesson...like your “Why God is Dead”, thing.....try better next time will ya?

          May 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          by the way..a VAST majority? you sure about that? you know the vast majority of Christians in USA personally?

          May 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
        • observer

          kermit4jc,

          Try again.

          Prayer is a reflection on one's beliefs. It would be the same for atheists commenting on their beliefs.

          Bad answer.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • observer

          kermit4jc,

          Tell you what. When you next go to your place of worship, ask the leader to ask the people if they would support allowing atheists equal time at government meetings. Let's see how liberal your religion is.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I ALREADY know the answer....that's why I said what I said earlier...at MY place of worship (CHURCH by the way) pretty much everyone is liberal about that....cause they have recognized they have ability to tune people out

          May 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm |
        • observer

          kermit4jc,

          Would you say you go to the typical Christian church and that they'd feel the same way in Catholic churches, for instance?

          May 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Listen....to rid something because of a few bad apples is not good.....I mean lets do it with other things..not just Christians..you always got a few bad apples in atheism.....etc etc.....almost lke youre throwing the baby out with the bathwater....besides...most complaints of this comes from atheists who yell separation of church and state....

          May 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • observer

          kermit4jc,

          Of course there's bad apples in Christians, atheists, agnostics, etc. Irrelevent. (Are you calling Catholics "bad apples"?)

          There is ZERO REASON why you need to FORCE people to leave or ignore your religious activity during government meetings.

          If your God is so shaky that he must have prayer during meetings, he has more problems than you can help. If your beliefs are so shaky that you feel you must pray at government meetings, you might reconsider your beliefs.

          May 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm |
        • nclaw441

          An invocation is not a tool for evangelism,and the opinion stated as much.

          May 7, 2014 at 7:56 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Is it ok for the invocation to be given by an imam ?

          May 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I don't care if it is..I can tune Him out if I want.....I know how to use my brain to do such....

          May 8, 2014 at 1:55 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit has generously demonstrated one of the biggest problems with having religious displays before government business. "I can tune him out". SO, at a government business meeting, where people come to be heard by the people, kermits solution is to tune people out...and that tuning out WILL extend to that person if they have some businiess to speak on.

          Kermit. Tuning people out is no solution. It only creates more problems. Better to remove the inappropriate religious display and do the peoples business like you are supposed to. You want to pray, fine. Just don't delay OUR business with your display.

          May 8, 2014 at 8:02 am |
        • kermit4jc

          are you serious? if so..youre totally STUPID! and STRETCHING to make an argument! I tune out the PRAYERS..not the rest of the meeting idiot....my God I cant believe someone would actually makie such nonsensical statement like that

          May 8, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          Ahh..attack that which you clearly do not unerstand.

          It is a psychological phenomenon. If you tune out part of what someone says, you are far less likely to listen to them, or try to understand what they say. In your mind, you have already decided to not listen, so you will be far less likely to listen to that person later.

          The fact is, it is inappropriate to start a government business meeting with ANY religious display.

          Tell you what, when your boss says something to you that you don't like, just tune him out.
          When your wife nags you, just tune her out.
          You clealry do not understand how effective communication works. One NEVER actually tunes anything out kermit...and subconsicously or consciously, it will effect your thought process.

          So just because you do comprehend, does not mean I am , as you say STUPID, and I am not stretching. Have you ever had any classes in psychology?

          May 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          nice try..yes..I DO realize that..and when REALIZING it..I will make sure to pay attention to the rest of what they have to say..again you are grasping at straws...and apparently you have nO control over YOUR mind whatsoever

          May 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • rickdday

        Just like you have 'ignored' all of us in this conversation? You sure 'ignore' in a funny way, son. Your advice is to 'stand by and say nothing.' I'm sure that Hitler advised his people the same thing as Jews were being literally railroaded out of existence.

        Yeah, just ignore it. Pretend it does not exist. That is your advice. "Deal with it".

        If we should ignore it, then should we also ignore the protocol of silence?

        May 8, 2014 at 8:46 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I have nOT purposefully ignored ANYONE in this conversation (with exception to truthprevails as all she is doing is whining about how IM acting..and not really getting on with the issues itself....if I did not get to YOUR post or someone esles..I apologize....one has to realize that there are HUNDREDS of posts coming in and I can NOT get to them all as I have a LIFE..I work...and if someone REALLY wants me to respond..they should use my nick (@Kermit) or such..otherwise..when I scroll thru my list....IM not gonna look at every post.....too time consuming...

          May 8, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          No kermi, you purposely avoid me because you are a coward who has been shown to lie like a cheap whore. Maybe if you'd simply admit that you don't have any true knowledge of this god and only believe it exists there wouldn't be such a problem. The fact that you are afraid of reality is not my fault. You are an obnoxious child and I would guess you've never been out of your trailer park.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:41 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          kermi: One more thing here, I've asked you how you know it is the Christian god-you refuse to answer. I've questioned you about how you would handle it if a parent told you they thought their child was gay-you claim it would never happen but yet you admit to believing that LGBT is a choice. You're the one who doesn't wish to answer the tough questions...it is you that has issues, not me. I don't care if you respond to me really-not a loss in this world but I do suggest you stop being dishonest and instead of using the word 'know', perhaps use the word 'believe'. Obviously not many others take you seriously either or believe you actually attended university-as stated before, it is very unlikely you're a psychologist.
          You support all of the actions by your god because in your small world, if god did it, it is fine...yet those same actions by man is wrong-such hypocrisy. You tell others they don't understand your god and yet you have no idea as to what they know, outside of the fact that they grew up and left imaginary friends (aka god/jesus) behind. Stop judging others and maybe you wouldn't be treated like an idiot.

          May 9, 2014 at 4:51 am |
  16. observer

    Forcing other people to put up with prayer during a government meeting for ALL people is just another example of Christian HYPOCRITES who love to preach, but not follow, the Golden Rule.

    May 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
    • kermit4jc

      we do NOT force yo into anything..again you can turn your mind to something else...why yo uattack Christians only?> why don't you attack the man next to you who drones on and on in the bus? why don't you attack your mother in law who makes you listen to her about all her aches and pains of her body..etc etc? this has nothing to do with the Godlen rule..we are not intending to force anyone....nice try at straw man of Golden Rule when you misjudge the intentions

      May 7, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
      • observer

        kermit4jc

        "we do NOT force yo into anything..again you can turn your mind to something else..."

        That kind of sums it up. "We don't force you into anything" except FORCING you to "turn your mind to something else" if you don't like it.

        May 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm |
        • nclaw441

          We are constantly exposed to speech with which we disagree. Once the invocation is over, there are frequently debates on the issues that come before the body holding the meeting. Those views are stated, but are not "forced" upon anyone.

          May 7, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
      • igaftr

        kermit.
        That prayer IS forcing people to have to wait for your religious display, they HAVE to listen, since you cannot turn it off. It is simply inappropriate to be delaying the people from conucting their business because you want to say your mumbo jumbo.
        You don't start other business meetings with prayer, you don't start college classes with prayer because it is inappropriate. Why do you think this is any less appropriate. Defending an action that is clearly inappropriate is you trying to keep your religion in my face. Cut it out.

        May 8, 2014 at 8:07 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I feel sorry for you then..since you have not the ability to turn off people....I guess me and many Christians are theonly ones who can do this...oh..and teenagers too....but looks like when you get grown up you lose that ability..I do NOT have to listen if I do NOT want to...and plus..its only a few minutes....sorry your life seems too precious to allow for others time for things.....in fact..maybe too precious you shouldn't go to meetings anyways....

          May 8, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          You cannot actually "tune people out". You can divert your attention, but your senses are still processing the input subconsciously.
          Seriously, haven't you ever ever had a psychology class? You don't know about subliminal and subconscious thought processing and the effects it can have on the conscious?

          May 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          SHEESH..yes..I know you can divert...but still you can "tuen thenm out" you do NOT have to listen..and as far as Psychology..I have a degree in it..I work in pscychology field...

          May 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
  17. Phillip

    They weren't being hostile toward minorities. From the ruling:

    "It would also be unwise to conclude that only those religious words acceptable to the majority are permissible, for the First Amendment is not a majority rule and government may not seek to define permissible categories of religious speech"

    They specifically don't want to control the religious speech of *anyone*, minority religions included. The way to solve this is not to suppress people's religious beliefs, but to be inclusive of more religions.

    May 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
  18. bostontola

    From a pragmatic point of view, I couldn't care less about a prayer before a Gov't meeting. Gov't is so awfully inefficient as it is, that this has negligible impact.

    My concerns are with the societal aspect of Govt and religion not maintaining separation. I think they are both better off separate. Even the perception of one denomination getting preferential treatment by the Gov't is divisive. We don't need more wedges. My understanding of the Consti.tution would predict this being precluded, but the SC Justices obviously know more than I do.

    May 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      You are reading the constltution correctly, they are just giving credence to what is called "precedent" aka "grandfathering" where just because it's been done for so long they deem it okay even though it is actually in violation of the 1st amendment.

      May 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
  19. larnan55

    In reality Jesus will reign in the vast majority these prayers. The rest of the religions will be sent to back of the bus. The ruling is a start on the road to a theocracy based upon one religion.

    May 7, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
    • fintronics

      A government based on mythology. How wonderful!

      May 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
      • benhoody

        Beats what we have now.

        May 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
        • Alias

          NO, it doesn't.

          May 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • rogerthat2014

          Governments based on mythology invade other countries.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • fintronics

          People that base their beliefs on mythology fly airplanes into buildings.

          May 8, 2014 at 7:49 am |
        • kermit4jc

          SOME do..yes..but not all

          May 8, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "SOME do..yes..but not all"

          It's all mythology...it's how one handles it that matters. If you use it in attempt to deny rights to others or to threaten them with eternal damnation, then it becomes a problem. Telling people they are sinning for being LGBT or for having an abortion or using birth control or trying to impose your specific set of beliefs upon others in the public square is not a good thing and certainly doesn't show that you have a clue as to the meaning of the word respect.

          May 9, 2014 at 6:44 am |
      • rickdday

        Have you ever read the bedside story "The Founding Fathers"? Fascinating fairy tale!

        May 8, 2014 at 8:50 am |
    • Reality

      Wow, talk about suffering from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity !!

      May 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Oh boy, care to explain how you think one small ruling is going to impact the Constitution when so much has already gone against the hype of your belief system? If anything, stats have proven that people are walking away from religion. Prayer belongs in silence or in your homes and churches...it is disrespectful to impose your belief on others.

      May 9, 2014 at 4:59 am |
  20. SeaVik

    Still no one has been able to offer a reason why citizens should be forced to endure a religious prayer to participate in a civic meeting. The closest thing to an argument that I've seen has been, "Why do you care, just don't listen, it's no big deal". It is a big deal and if it's not, then why do they insist on doing it? Clearly, it does have meaning and is intended to inject religion into government – if not, why would they bother fighting for it?

    May 7, 2014 at 11:20 am |
    • dvdrichards1115

      Outside of the having to wait for a meeting to start, what adverse affect does the prayer have on someone? I hate waiting for a stop light to change at an intersection that has absolutely no traffic. I either go a different route or sit and wait for it with an unhappy look on my face. i am not hurt in any way. I think of the prayer at the beginning of a meeting like this; you could come late, as many people do, and miss the prayer, or just ignore it. I see no harm in the prayer however. If they prayed for guidence between each item discussed, well then we have a different problem.

      May 7, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
      • igaftr

        The delay is inappropriate and avoidable. There is no reason to start a government business meeting with a religious display.
        Is it appropriate to begin every business meeting with prayer?
        Is it appropriate to start every college class with prayer?
        Is it appropriate that I go to a religious service and delay them with zoning issues or tax issues?
        Of course not, and it is just as inappropriate to have a sanctioned religious display.

        May 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        Dv....nobody is saying there is any harm. What we are saying is.,..why have it at all, especially in a govt meeting? Would you want me coming to your church and discussing the state budget?

        May 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
      • James XCIX

        dvdrichards1115 – " If they prayed for guidence between each item ..."

        Why would they pray for guidance at all, since it's something their god can't deliver anyway without interfering with their free will?

        That's one of the things that make this whole issue so absurd–religious people demand the right to government-led prayer (a prayer that meets with their approval, of course), but the things they'll typically ask for in their prayers can't be by accomplished by their god anyway, so it's a lot of unnecessary trouble over nothing.

        May 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
      • SeaVik

        "Outside of the having to wait for a meeting to start, what adverse affect does the prayer have on someone?"

        That was really not the point of my post. My question was, why is anyone fighting to have a prayer in a meeting if it's really no big deal and is not intended to inject religion into government / public affairs? That question has not been adequately answered.

        To answer your question some of the adverse effects include:
        1) Sendinga clear message that the following government proceedings are in some way bound by the beliefs of Christianity.
        2) Sending a clear message that this meeting is for Christians and not for all citizens.
        3) Making people feel very uncomfortable who object to Christianity and want to have nothing to do with it.
        4) Making people who are not Christians feel that their voice will not be heard on the same level of Christian citizens.

        Those are just a few reasons it is highly inappropriate and blatantly unconst.itutional.

        May 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          THIOSE are silly claims..if people think that..they have some rethinking to do and not be so presumptuous as yo uare.....there are Christains PRESENT....among others..the pprayer in NO way says only Christian voices will be heard at meeting....and we feel uncomfortable in MANy situation s in life..its that..LIFE..get over it...you gety uncomfortable at times..it happens "2) Sending a clear message that this meeting is for Christians and not for all citizens." OH puleeze give me a break! Prayer does no such thing....

          May 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit4jc – " Sending a clear message that this meeting is for Christians and not for all citizens." OH puleeze give me a break! Prayer does no such thing...."

          If it's not a clear message, it's at least implied. What would you say is the purpose of an explicitly Christian opening prayer at a government function?

          May 7, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and there youhave it folks..ignorance..what IS prayer? Prayer is speaking with God......when they pray they ask for GIUDANCE and wisdom is THAT so wrong to ask? and how would asking for guidance and wisdom leave others out? See what I mean..the opponents are crying foul of something they don't really know about

          May 7, 2014 at 5:15 pm |
        • joey3467

          Telling non Christians that they can leave if they don't like it does exactly what SeaVik said it makes us feel like our voices don't count.

          May 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          People don't have to leave the room..and even IF....it is only during the prayer time.....making a mountain out of a mole hill...those who choose to stay and use their brains to tune out the prayer can do so

          May 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Kermit – You still haven't answered the question. It clearly is a big deal to us. Why is it a big deal to you to have prayers if it's not an attempt to inject your religion into the meeting?

          May 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          It is to ask for wisdom...guidance....and corporate prayer (more than one person beniog part of it) is uplifting one another as well....(that is for those who believe in prayer-though Id hope that those who don't participate couldat least fel uplifted and thevery ;least that we are trying to look for guidance and wisdom..rather than run helter skelter into it)...those question are of ignorant people who are scared of "injecting out religion" serisouly.....

          May 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          "Prayer does no such thing...."
          Yes it does. I was once at one of the mettings, they had a prayer, i looked out the window, was clearly not praying with the others, and when it came time for me to speak, none of the christians ( and all the rest were praying) would listen to a word I said. After the meeting, another non=believer came up to me and said he had the same issue, and he started acting like he was praying, and they started listening. Whether or not it is obvious or unintentional, the bias, the prejudice shines right through. A governmment business meeting is extremely inappropriate to have ANY religious display, just as it would be inappropriate for me to go to your church service and delay the service while we discuss zoning issues.

          A government meeting is NOT the right place or the right time for your religious display. pray in your head and let the people do its business.

          May 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm |
        • dvdrichards1115

          So, if all the Christians were praying...how did they see you looking out the window? Perhaps you are seeing things that aren't there? Can you show us proof this happened? Everything requires proof, or, by your standards, it isn't true.
          The idea that prayer is affecting the efficiency of the Gov't meeting is comical by the way. Name any gov't agency that is efficient.

          May 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NICE try..you tried to connect the PRAYER to the fact you couldn't speak....that had NOTHING to do with the prayer..it had to do with the people themselves..who unfortunately did not do a good job..and from your description were praying in vain rather than truly seeking for wisdom.....so no PRAYER did NOT do this...just becauise some ABUSE it..does not mean we should get rid of all and lump everyone together,,evebn IF they did not have prayer..YOu would still had same problem from what you described....

          May 7, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • SeaVik

          Richards, if you want to deny the fact that it makes many people feel uncomfortable in an inappropriate way, so be it. But you still haven't answered the question. If it's no big deal, WHY DO YOU CARE? Why not just skip it and then everyone can focus on the meeting rather than this BS?

          May 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
        • igaftr

          dvdrich
          Allow me to elaborate since obviously you cannot infer. I was looking out the window, looking around, and clearly not particpating. Is that better?

          May 7, 2014 at 4:28 pm |
        • igaftr

          dvdr
          We can increase the efficiency of governemt by eliminating pointless time wasting displays of religion. It is inappropriate when conducting the people.
          Why should we have to delay business for a religious display? Why do you think it is appropriate?

          Would it be appropriate for me to go to your church and delay the service with government business? Of course not, and likewise delaying business for religious displays is just as inappropriate.

          May 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
        • rickdday

          Let me put it in simpler terms. Christian prayer before a government meeting is the equivalent of a dog hiking its leg and peeing to mark its territory. These prayers always asks for God's blessing upon us all, as if without that call to God, there would be chaos and animal fornication.

          Because what inevitable happens is that rich Christians typically only deal with Christian politicians. Then every decision, contract, regualtion or law begins to have that Fresh Bible Smell™.

          Now, as a Christian you may not see the harm in this. Until the day they interpeted God's will in a totally different manner than you.

          So you fear Sharia Law? Why? Take that reason and you begin to see our POV because that is why most rational people are skeptical of Christian based law.

          If I simple left the room shouting complaints about the prayer, would that be OK with good Christians like SCOTUS and yourself?

          May 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
        • dvdrichards1115

          Rickdday:
          Your analogy is incorrect. When a dog urinates it is to ward off ALL other dogs. Even you said that the prayer is asking for "blessings" on all, believer and non. I don't need simplification, but thanks any way. I also find your statement about rich Christians only dealing with other rich Christians, well completely incorrect. The majority leader in the House is a jewish guy, pretty sure the Christians deal with him. The Majority leader in the Senate is a Mormon, most Christians don't think he is a Christian, pretty sure they still deal with him as well.
          Now, the people praying, whether you agree with them or not, are not being disruptive or intentionally provoking anyone. They are exercising free speech.
          as for you yelling as you leave a room because you feel excluded, I support that.
          I don't fear Sharia Law. The only people who should fear Sharia law are atheist and women. Both would have a tough life were Sharia law imposed. Christians live in countries where there is Sharia law and have more rights than do women or people who verbally deny God.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • observer

          dvdrichards1115,

          Sharia law is almost identical to all the laws set up by God originally. It's what he wanted until Jesus got him to change his perfect mind.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, If the elected officials need guidance from a supernatural being to do their job – why not do it on their own time either at home before they leave for work or get to the office early and pray alone or with a group of like-minded co-workers? Christian (or any other religion's) prayers are not part of, nor should they be part of government business.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          it will STILL be a part of government business whether done at home r outside in a group..again there isnothing that is saying joining of church and state in praying during a metting....for it does not ESTABLISH that you have to believe in what they say..or such....why cant yo uguys suck it up and amuse us and just ignore the prayer..its only a few momnents out of your not so busy life anyways

          May 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit4jc – "....when they pray they ask for GIUDANCE and wisdom "

          How would granting guidance and wisdom not be interfering with their free will? (It implies they will make decisions they would not have otherwise made).

          May 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          in asking for Guidance and wisdom...it is NOT saying God does all the thinking for them...God will shed light on things..JUST as like a teacher sheds light or shows you something....you still take it and use it with your free will..or yo ureject it.....

          May 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm |
        • James XCIX

          dvdrichards1115 – "Now, the people praying, whether you agree with them or not, are not being disruptive or intentionally provoking anyone."

          How could you possibly know that? Are you saying that nobody ever uses a prayer in order to provoke someone? If so, you are wrong.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:31 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – He would still be affecting their decision making, thus interfering with their free will. Not allowed, according to most Christian thinking.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          so I guess there is no such thing as freee will..God or no God...what about teachers? they affect it too...so no free will then?? your argument is only in part...you miss out that the person STILL has choices to make....god sheds likght on things..we still USE FREE will to accept it..or reject it....sorry....your argument has no conclusion except that freree will does not exist even without a God

          May 7, 2014 at 5:40 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – "so I guess there is no such thing as freee will"

          Apparently not, at least where your god is concerned, if he is allowed to interfere with people's decision making–especially if it's because someone else asked him to do it.

          "you miss out that the person STILL has choices to make"

          Either the requested guidance isn't going to influence any decisions, and so it was unnecessary to ask for it at all, or it is going to influence them, in which case someone will be acting differently than they would have otherwise, and so their free will has been compromised.

          May 8, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • kermit4jc

          He is NOT interfering..again...in the SAME way..a teracher does this when they teach...they put ideas in the minds....same thing with God...so again..NO free will..perdio..even if there is no God..according to YOUR argument..there is no free will

          May 8, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • James XCIX

          Your teacher analogy is very flawed. When someone is listening to a person, they can evaluate what they are hearing, consider the source and other factors, and accept the information or not.

          Praying for your god to give guidance to someone is basically asking him to insert thoughts into their mind. In such a situation they have no opportunity to evaluate anything. At the very least it's asking him to steer the direction of thoughts to arrive at the "best" decision. In either case, free will is compromised.

          If you feel I've mischaracterized the guidance, I'd be interested in how you think divine guidance can influence decisions without interfering with free will (try something other than the teacher analogy).

          May 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          It is not false at all..it is not "inserting " as you say...it is in very same way as teacher..we still evaluate and think onit to consider it..sorry to say...seems you have not experienced anything like prayer before

          May 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't see it as being the same as a teacher at all.

          May 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and that is due to your misunderstanding still of what we ask for and how we get it and how we react to it....I live it sir...its my LIFE..I been a Christian over 25 years and I use prayer for my work (I seek wisdom in handling a particular case with a family-God gives me some ideas...not all the info...but gives me a jump start..I still have to mull it over..how to apply it and how my approach to the family in applying it should be etc etc etc...)

          May 9, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – "God gives me some ideas"

          How do you know that?

          May 9, 2014 at 8:47 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Its not me that's doing it..Its same as someone else putting ideas in my head...when they talk to me...they give me words...God speaks to me..gives me words that are not from myself when I hear Him speak

          May 9, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit..,I doubt you have any special cognitive powers to hear any voices from beyond, so I can only conclude you are using the same thought process as I, but attributing your solutions to god

          May 9, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I mean think of it this way..seems you never experience prayer in your life...so how should you know how it goes?

          May 9, 2014 at 2:03 am |
        • James XCIX

          You are right, I do not pray since I am not a believer, but I'm attempting to resolve what appear to me to be conflicting Christian ideas, namely prayer and free will (along with the idea that everything happens according to your god's plan, but that's a separate issue we don't need to go into now).

          So far you haven't shown me anything that really seems to support the idea that they don't conflict. I might be able to agree that if one asks for guidance for oneself then that doesn't necessarily conflict with free will (since you've asked for interference with your own thought processes of your own free will?), but your god providing guidance to others at your request would definitely qualify as interference in their free will.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:41 am |
        • kermit4jc

          NOt at all..all..again same with teacher...they still get to process information given to them ...like anyone else....

          May 9, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • James XCIX

          It's god-given information, information they wouldn't have gotten any other way, meant to influence their decisions (or what was the point of giving it?). And if they somehow know it's from their god, how could they ever decide "No, that's really not valid information"? Not the same as a teacher by any means. You really need to come up with a better analogy that might actually support your position.

          May 9, 2014 at 9:58 am |
        • kermit4jc

          teacher anaology still works..again info inserted..they accept it..or reject it....no matter where they think they got it

          May 9, 2014 at 10:05 am |
        • James XCIX

          If you really can't come up with a better analogy, there's not point continuing.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:07 am |
        • James XCIX

          kermit – Concerning the teacher analogy, if a teacher (or any other human) tells you something you don't automatically believe–you evaluate it, you run it through your own personal bs filter based on your current knowledge and experiences, etc.

          But if you know your god has told you something or put a thought into your mind, you are going to automatically believe it. That's why the teacher (human) analogy doesn't work.

          And if your god has put a thought into your mind but you don't know it, and that thought causes you to act in a way that's different from how you would have acted if that thought was not there (which is the whole reason it would be put there, otherwise it would be unnecessary, right?), you did not have a chance to evaluate it and you've basically become a puppet following the puppetmaster's directions.

          If you still don't see it, then, as I said, we'll have to agree to disagree about it.

          May 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          see..again You are AsUMING THATS

          May 9, 2014 at 2:04 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Let me try this again...that is YOU assuming again what happens...how we process Gods answers....we don't merley accept it..we still evaluate it and all

          May 9, 2014 at 2:05 am |
        • James XCIX

          kermit = "how we process Gods answers"

          In what manner do you receive God's answers?

          May 9, 2014 at 8:42 am |
        • kermit4jc

          do you mean to ask am I hearing a voice or something?

          May 9, 2014 at 9:43 am |
        • James XCIX

          How do you know you are getting an idea from your god?

          May 9, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • kermit4jc

          thoughts inserted to my mind from outside..as in like a teacher inserting thoughts into my mind....teacher speaks..I listen and obtain the info

          May 9, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • James XCIX

          Teachers don't insert thoughts, they speak and you listen and form your own thoughts about it.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:04 am |
        • kermit4jc

          that's inserting the info.....if you receive it...you take it....they speak..the voice goes to your brain which processes the sound....and again...your mind processes the info and you evaluate it and decide to use it or not..

          May 9, 2014 at 10:06 am |
        • James XCIX

          If your god is "inserting info" (whatever form that takes) for the express purpose of fulfilling someone's request to guide someone's thoughts, that is very different than someone listening to someone else's ideas (and teachers are not different than anyone else, except maybe since they are considered experts in their field they are taken more seriously in their particular area of expertise) and considering their ideas when forming your own.

          Anyway, we're both continuing to say the same thing in slightly different ways and getting nowhere, so I think it's time to end this thread. Thanks for making it interesting, if not somewhat frustrating.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:15 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          James....great questioning. I have often wondered how these people think their god is giving them answers to anything. When I am working on an issue at work, I just consider the issue for awhile and eventually I come up with the answer. It is my own subconscious thoughts considering the problem that ables me to resolve it. Personally, I think those voice hearers are nuts.

          May 9, 2014 at 10:36 am |
        • kermit4jc

          @gull..and so you never seek assistance from others....solicit ideas from other people at times when you work?

          May 9, 2014 at 11:46 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Kermit... I do all the time. But once again, they are real. Look, I don't really care if you truly believe you are getting your inspiration from god. It's just impossible to prove it. And...,I really can't even disprove that it is just your subconscious at work.

          May 9, 2014 at 11:53 am |
        • kermit4jc

          ok..thats fine.....what I do appreciate is that people (not saying you been doing it) would be accepting to that..as yuare doing.....I mean....am I getting the work done..then great..that should be commended..rather than some people who seem to belittle more for doing so

          May 9, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Are you saying that whatever government employees do becomes part of government? I disagree.
          By making their religious dependency part of the meeting they are in effect endorsing that religion. If a government employee felt that they needed cocaine to make them alert to do their job – should each meeting begin with a ceremonial line?

          May 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, You only say we should suck it up because it is your religion; imagine EVERY meeting starting with Hindu, Shinto, Muslim, etc. prayers, i.e. any religion but yours. I doubt that you would be so cavalier about separation of church and state.
          Another issue is that these people are paid out of taxes – why should taxpayers cover the cost of their choice to do something unrelated to their job; it's only government business because they're encroaching on their employer's time.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          first of all.....very few meetings are full to the brim..much less have all those present...second....I still sick and tired of this abuse of separation of church and state...you people need to get a history lesson in how it all came about and the intentions..even TJ said in a letter to a friend that it was not intentioned as we see many people doing it today! I will look up for that letter

          May 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          kermit, The number of attendees in this little town is irrelevant; if adopted nation-wide it would be a lot of people and a lot of time.
          If you are "sick and tired of this abuse of separation of church and state" then help us fight this intrusion of church into state.

          May 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I will not fight it cause there is NO intrusion of state and religion..its again as I stated..OVER abused and taken far more than intended by the founding fathers

          May 8, 2014 at 1:53 am |
        • SeaVik

          Kermit you idiot, if you're going to reply to my post, at least TRY to answer the question I asked. If praying in a government meeting is NOT injecting religion into the meeting and is not intended to ostracize those of different beliefs, then why do you care whether or not it is done? WHY DO YOU CARE IF IT'S NO BIG DEAL? The fact that you care so much proves the point that it has meaning and therefore does not belong.

          May 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I did answer..sorry you don't like it

          May 8, 2014 at 1:54 am |
        • fintronics

          Still I see no answer to the question of why is prayer before a government meeting NECESSARY????

          "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

          Christianity is all about hypocrisy.

          May 8, 2014 at 7:58 am |
      • rickdday

        Because it puts me in a negative mindset from the beginning. Since what I hear over an amplified PA system (kind of hard to 'ignore' 70 db invocations in a mid size room, tbh) are things in the prayer I passionately disagree with, yet barred by prayer protocol to challenge the assertions of the prayperson (which such challenges to ideas are encouraged at public meetings) it sets up a "I'm not going to get anything accomplished unless I pretend I am one of them."

        Worse yet, it puts me in a mindset where I don't feel this is 'my' government because I don't go to church and socialize with 'them'.

        If most of the elected officials were agnostic, this would not be an issue. But your leaders over the past 30 years has focused on stacking local, state and federal elections with candidates sporting that Fresh Bible Smell.

        Now, Christians dominate government. They use Christian doctrine to pass laws that can tend to isolate those 'not like them'. Think of it as 'mission creep'.

        Tell me to ignore Blue Laws, anti-abortion legislation, church based gay-hate. Please, just tell me to 'deal with it'. and duck as I throw my boot at your head.

        We don't like people like you. You are smug in your mythology. And you think the way to paradise is converting souls; feathers in your angel wings. This is not a video game. You don't score points by creating Christian Nations. We see no difference in what you want, and what the radical imans want; total control.

        That is why, based on my 58 years of living with socially backwards Christians from the Deep South.

        May 8, 2014 at 9:02 am |
        • dvdrichards1115

          Because it puts you in a negative mindset...so other people control your mood an you're angry about what??? Being weak minded? Not being able to control your emotions?
          People are socially backwards because they have different social views than you? Arrogance
          Christians have always dominated governement in this country, do I agree with all the laws of the land, nope!! And I am a Christian, so your argument is crazy. How can you or anyone else say what gov't would be like if it was dominated by agnostics or Scientologist or Zorastians???
          You don't like me....you don't know me. Many of my friends, my best friend as a matter of fact, are agnostic. We have open debates and laugh and argue and respect eachothers opinions. I am not anti gay and not all anti gay people are Christian. You are making gross generalizations like all bigots do. Your bigotry offends me. Your lack of tolerance is offensive. Your generllizations of people from the deep south displays your feeling of superiority.

          May 8, 2014 at 9:51 am |
        • igaftr

          rick
          Since dvdr said " and you will not sway me "
          it shows he is not willing to listen, and has closed his mind. He simply refuses to put himself in someone elses shoes, and that close minded ignorance itself is the biggest part of the problem.
          He thinks that an inappropriate religious display that ostricizes those who don't participate is okey dokey, since he is in the majority.

          May 8, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Iga....well said! It's that hard line rigidity of bible thumpers that Barry Goldwater warned the country about 50 years ago

          May 8, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • kermit4jc

          then your mindset is inignorance..face it dude..we are a NATION of INDIviduaLS....if you have that mindset ruined by prayer...then it doesnot stop at prayer...so IM guessing your argument is not really honest......everyone is an individual.....have you been to town council metings? you many times got "us vs them" mentaility especially on certain issues (pot growing in city limits for example) the government is made up by INDIVIDUal people..youare not them..they are not you.....the NATION is made up of people from all walks of life...thank God IM not like you or others..I am Me

          May 8, 2014 at 11:53 am |
    • dvdrichards1115

      igaftr
      ...still don't see how they saw that if they were praying, but whatever. You have no evidence that you were not listened too, so it didn't happen, it is just a fairytale. Govt efficiency will be affected by the elimination of prayer at the begining of a meeting? Okay I would like to see the evidence for that as well please. And I don't go to church, but I do know for a fact that people go to churches and talk about zoning laws and other non God related stuff, all the time. Churches have these things called business meetings all the time...
      Seavik,
      So, discomfort at hearing prayer is your argument. Well then, lets just censor anything that makes people uncomfortable in public meetings. Censorship for all. Lets not allow people to openly believe in anything. Lets all stay home and be trolls on belief blogs and get all thoughts that are not provable science out of the public discourse, or, we could all allow the free flowing of ideas and beliefs and when we disagree, we agree that it is okay that we disagree. The majority of people in this country are Christian, so they hold the cards. When agnosticism or atheism is a majority, then there will be nothing but non offensive efficient government and everyone will get along. The way I see it, that day is coming so you can relax.

      May 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
      • SeaVik

        You continue to ignore the point. Try to focus here. If it's such a frivolous thing to you, why do you insist on having prayer? If it's not a big deal, why don't we just NOT do it?

        May 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
        • dvdrichards1115

          Seavik,
          Since you want to be condescending, I will respond in kind. Where did I insist on having prayer?????? I didn't, nor do I care if they pray or not. I couldn't care less if people pray before any meetings. I do think they should have the right to free speech and prayer is speech. If all the members of that council agree to pray in front of a room full of people, and they don't have a monitor to make sure all people are praying then I DON"T CARE!!! I care that people should be able to speak freely. If you were at a meeting and after the prayer you got up and went to the podium and said, "god is a fairytale, thanks for wasting our time, now can we get to the peoples business?" I might even laugh and silently applaud. But if they pray, they are doing NO HARM...now focus Seavik focus...no harm, none. Being uncomfortable is not being harmed, being offended is not being harmed. Wait in the hallway until they say "Amen" and then go in, big deal. Unless the person praying is along winded preacher, we are talking 1 minute, 2 tops...please. If they crack a joke, waste of time, so what. If they recognize the local cub scout troop for planting flowers in the village green, waste of time, so what. Gov't waste time and our money, that offends me.

          May 7, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • SeaVik

          You don't seem to get it Richard. This has nothing to do with free speech. This is about ritualistic prayer opening a government meeting. It is not about being offended, it is about having my rights infringed upon. If the meeting is a religious meeting, which it clearly is to some degree if the agenda includes a religious prayer, then I, as an atheist, am in complete opposition with the intent of the meeting. My religious views (or lack thereof) should not preclude me from having my voice heard just like any other citizen.

          Now, if an individual wants to start praying when it is THEIR TURN to speak, that would be freedom of speech. It would of course be completely out of place to pray, but I don't object to an individual doing that on their own accord, I object to it being part of the meeting.

          May 7, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
        • fintronics

          @Richard... "Wait in the hallway until they say "Amen" and then go in, big deal."

          If it's no big deal, then why is it even NECESSARY in the first place?.

          May 8, 2014 at 8:42 am |
      • igaftr

        dvdrichard.
        You clearly do not comprehend the point, and I doubt you ever will.

        May 8, 2014 at 8:54 am |
        • dvdrichards1115

          Just because I disagree and you will not sway me doesn't mean I don't get the point...what is it with you arrogant atheist. You take the position that your position is right and everyone who disagrees with your OPINION, is wrong. I do not think prayer is necessary, never said I did. BUT SCOTUS said it is okay, and no one has stated real harm, just slippery slope arguements and no one wants to be offended blah blah blah. This whole don't offend me thing is offensive.

          May 8, 2014 at 9:11 am |
        • gulliblenomore

          Dvd....SCOTUS also said abortion was legal, yet that has not stopped Christians from whining about that decision for decades!

          May 8, 2014 at 9:27 am |
        • rickdday

          #ohsnap
          #hypocrisy

          May 8, 2014 at 9:32 am |
        • igaftr

          dvdr
          "Just because I disagree and you will not sway me doesn't mean I don't get the point...what is it with you arrogant atheist."

          Again, showing you not only missed the point, but you refuse to listen, so CANNOT get the point.

          Arrogant atheists? What is it with you close minded ignorant believers? A government business meeting is NOT a place for religious rituals.

          May 8, 2014 at 9:40 am |
        • rickdday

          well now that both of you have lowered yourselves to the level of bickering 3rd graders, god and dawkins declare this debate null.

          But I think we can certainly agree all the drivel about persecuted Christians is just that. Like it or not, dvd, SCOTUS handed you the equivalent of superior citizen status. We hope you continue to deny such status, while quietly enjoying its privileges.

          May 8, 2014 at 10:07 am |
      • igaftr

        "So, discomfort at hearing prayer is your argument"

        No, that is not it at all. It is the at!tude from others when I show disdain and do not participate in their baseless religious displays. It is the at!tude of those that carries into the governments business, and is inappropriate.

        If, before aa meeting, a white supremacist group came out and priased all the white poeple, and condemned all the rest...if you were a minority in that meeting, would it make you feel like you are an equal participant in that governemnt business, or would you feel ostricized and intentionally singled out? Would you wonder why that group even is speaking, since what they are saying has NOTHING to do with the business that is SUPPOSED to be conducted? Would you want there to be NO invocation at all, and just want to get down to business?Or would you just "tune out" the hate speach and ignorantly believe it won't have an effect on the subsequent procedures?

        If you think that a group led prayer is not harmful, you haven't considered it from the other side. Group led prayer is offensive and completely inappropriate at a business meeting for ALL of the the people.

        May 8, 2014 at 10:28 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.