home
RSS
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. Mr. D.

    "If you don't like it, leave the room."

    Remember that when non Christians want to pray too.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
    • G to the T

      "Leave the room" – I'm surprised they didn't just go the next step and say "Christianity is required for citizenship".

      May 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
  2. verumestverum

    Roman Catholics make up only 20% of the 80% of Americans who are religious...and yet according to Kagan the Catholic Justices don't know what it is like to be part of a religious minority. Good thing she is a judge and not an accountant!

    May 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm |
    • Doris

      Again, it's quite obvious she is referring to non-Christian minority faiths in contrast to the dominant Christians in the U.S.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Again, Catholics are Christian. About ~78% of Americans belong to Christian sects. Ergo the five conservative justices are part of the Christian majority.

      Kagen is Jewish. Jews represent 1.7% of Americans. I'd call that a minority.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
  3. jimmyliu89

    If Christians have the right to use prayer in the courtroom, then I have the right to chant the Lotus Sutra. If they don't like it, then deal with it.

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

      Read the article. Anyone who applied to lead prayer before a meeting was allowed to...so you could have. Knock yourself out. It just happens that most folks in the town are Christians...so most who applied to pray were...gasp...Christians. Get a life.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
    • gdolsen

      I think that Christians are called to be respectful and I try to be. Jimmy, if you think you can do this and be respectful of others around you...go for it...the floor is yours.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
      • G to the T

        I agree to a point, but I find government led prayer to be extremely disrespectful to those that old different views.

        It's essentially dividing the room into "them" and "us", which is the opposite of what a government (representational) body should be.

        May 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
    • actorforchrist

      Hey, now you're getting it. That's exactly right, you have that right.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
  4. sf49er75

    there is no need to leave the room... just shout out the prayers of your religion while the rest are praying for their Christian God...

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

      AMEN brother! You are ABSOLUTELY right.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • gdolsen

      ...right...because this is your idea of promoting tolerance?

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

        Yes, similar to the tolerance the Supreme Court of Clowns has provided.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
      • G to the T

        Not promoting tolerance but perhaps protesting inequity.

        May 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        and your idea of tolerance is christian prayer in public places and government business?

        May 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
  5. sf49er75

    I'm SURE (sarcasm) that a muslim man could spend that same time praying to Allah in peace without being harassed while the rest of the Christian audience prayed, right?

    May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
    • smartlawyerloquitor

      Unfortunately, the Muslim idea of "praying in peace" is yelling Allah Akbar for killing someone or destroying property.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Did you hear that from a 'smart' lawyer?

        I think not.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
      • actorforchrist

        Or when someone scores a goal at a sporting event. Your opinion of true Islam is staggeringly poor.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
    • gdolsen

      I really do not see why not. As a Christian, I would have no problems whatsoever in allowing someone to practice their freedom of religious expression - and if I had an issue with it I can rest in knowing that I could leave the room.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        So you go to a government meeting and then leave because there are, say, Hindu, prayers. How many times would you leave before you complained? 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months .....?

        May 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
  6. sf49er75

    The "wall of separation between church and state"

    Thomas Jefferson seemed pretty clear about this....

    May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      James Madison (who framed most of the const.itution) was even clearer on this specific topic.

      Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Consti.tution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom?

      In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Const.itution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.

      See 'Detached Memoranda'.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
    • verumestverum

      Right to keep the State for interfering with the public exercise of religion. Read the "Letter the Danberry Baptist Association" that the phrase comes if you really want to understand. He meant to keep the State our of religion, not to keep religion out of public life.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
      • Doris

        "Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." –James Madison

        "The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State." –James Madison

        May 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
      • sf49er75

        Umm.. Thomas Jefferson worked to deestablish religion in the state of Virginia... how much more evidence do you want that he did not want religion in any government activities.

        Having said that, I did not say that he wanted to eradicate religion... in fact, he was very interested in religious studies and morality, but NOT in government,... keep it in your private life.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "He meant to keep the State our of religion
        --------------------–

        And religion out of the state. Religion belongs at home and in church.

        You do realize that Jefferson had this engraved on his tombstone:

        "Here was buried
        Thomas Jefferson
        Author of the Declaration of American Independence
        of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom
        Father of the University of Virginia.

        He was very proud of authoring the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom which disestablished the church in Virginia which contains, in part, the following:

        "Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

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

        This is history 101. The Pilgrims and Puritans left England because they were being persecuted and they were looking for a place to live where they could practice their religion without persecution. I'm a descendant of both a Pilgrim and a Puritan.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:51 pm |
    • educatedatheist

      Thomas was very clear on this. .. And he would be very ashamed of how this country is being ran. ..

      May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
  7. msradell

    For once Supreme Court has made a ruling that by far the largest majority of Americans agree with! There's nothing forcing the people who don't agree with prayer to stay in the room while it's being said just like this of forcing them to go to church and listen to prayers they don't agree with!

    May 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
    • observer

      msradell,

      So no problem for you if atheists are given equal time to speak. You can leave, etc. Right?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
      • gdolsen

        I do find it interesting that those that get so upset with Christians because of perceived intolerance tend to be the most intolerant of all. Look, if an atheist wants to speak respectfully...go for it.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • observer

          gdolsen,

          Speaking of intolerance, it's usually Christians that have collected tens of millions of dollars to deny equal rights to others and call people "murderers" who haven't murdered anyone.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So you're OK with a Satanist giving the blessing at your town hall meeting?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
      • verumestverum

        Sure...if they represent a significant voice in the community, that would be fine.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • G to the T

          "if they represent a significant voice in the community"

          Why should this matter? Shouldn't the local government represent everyone, not just those that happen to be part of the current majority?

          If your neighborhood became predominantly muslim, I wouldn't want to sit through that (or be forced to exclude myself) anymore than I would a Christian prayer session.

          May 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
      • gdolsen

        I had this exact thought...and to be honest, struggled with it. I cannot say I would be in massive celebration mode during such an invocation, but as long as it was respectful I would rather allow them to practice this than to have my right to pray removed. No question though, these are not always easy decisions.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
        • G to the T

          No one is trying to take away a "right", they are looking to have the "rights" of everyone expanded. The only way to do that (in my opinion) is to have a completely secular government. Can your beliefs inform your decisions? Of course! Can you pray on street-corners, in your homes, the park, the church? Of course!

          Is it appropriate to call out a particular religion as part of a government function? NO!

          May 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
    • revbro

      The majority of justices just told Americans who do not practice Christianity.. "if you don't like it you can leave." That is so school yard it is embarrassing. If they were really doing their job, protecting all Americans, and not just those they like... they would know their words are childish and won't stand the test of time. In just a couple of decades this decision will be overturned and Roberts and Kennedy will go down in history as the most backward, childish justices ever.

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

        For now they will be known as the Supreme Court of Clowns....

        May 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
  8. kalyanbk

    I think prayer is best kept personal. If you need to pray, a quite mental prayer is sufficient at the work place. I believe that group prayer is powerful however the best place for that could be at home or a place of worship.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
  9. dandydillmore

    This ruling is truly revealing on just how far off center the Supreme Court has become.
    Ok Christians... now I would like the Supreme Court to rule on what Sect of Christianity should be official, since by this ruling they have declared that Christianity is the official sanctioned religion of the country. Who will win the next round... Catholics, Baptists, Protestants.... I'm thinking that the Catholics have got it since the majority of the Court is Catholic.. Certainly the Baptists and the Protestant should not be bothered with that. And if the Catholics are going to be the chosen ones shouldn't priests pick the prayers for schools also?? Exactly where does this end.. Favoritism towards religion is a double edged sword.
    I saw throw the bums out.. I want the court to protect the right to religion, even though I am definitely not religious. But this is crap.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
    • smartlawyerloquitor

      If you took the time to read, you would have seen that everyone is welcome to pray. Even a Wiccan. If the court would have held that only Christian prayers could be used, then you would have an establishment argument. There is no amendment protecting people from exposure to religion.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • dandydillmore

        You had better read that decision again....

        May 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
  10. smartlawyerloquitor

    isn't it amazing how much atheists fight the very God they insist doesn't exist?

    May 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
    • saggyroy

      We aren't fighting god, there is no god. We are fighting the deluded.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • smartlawyerloquitor

        Nah. You wouldn't care if someone insisted on mentioning the tooth fairy or Superman. It's G-O-D that you can't stand to hear, because deep down, you know you're wrong.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • sf49er75

          someone mentioning the tooth fairy or superman at a town hall meeting is as silly as mentioning about a god

          May 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • dandydillmore

          Its inappropriate. It is common sense yet you seem to have none..... I suggest a name change.. -smart +dumb

          May 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        • cafeeine

          We don't care about the tooth fairy precisely because the possibility that someone will use their belief in the tooth fairy to affect our own lives is nil.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          notsmartlawyer....please change your moniker....my suggestion is much more appropriate for you. I don't know for sure if there is no god, but logic and reason dictates to me that there is not. The concept is just too silly for an intelligent person to grab ahold of. Now....for the truly hopeless, I understand the need for a crutch to get through life....but I don't need that crutch. Pray all you want, but do it in private.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:40 pm |
    • sf49er75

      what do you mean by fight? we just don't like to hear babbling nonsense that insults our intelligence.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • smartlawyerloquitor

        Nah, you hear nonsense every day that insults your intelligence. You wouldn't sue over it, though. But you don't like being reminded that you're in moral rebellion – it's uncomfortable – so you seek to stifle any reminder.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm |
        • sf49er75

          i agree.. nonsense... as in your post.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Moral rebellion? Are you nuts? The religious are the least moral people on the planet! Don't blow smoke in my face, and don't ear fvck me with your babbling BS nonsensical prayers.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm |
    • dandydillmore

      Obviously you miss the point of their judgement entirely... Try thinking.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
    • ksocreative

      "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues (or, insert public space) where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get."

      Matthew 6:5

      May 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm |
    • gulliblenomore

      notsmartlawyer....for somebody that claims in their moniker, you seem pretty stupid to me. Apparently you have no idea what atheists are about. We don't really care if you want to pray....just not in our faces. This is exactly like the fight us non-smokers had with the smokers back in the 80s. I don't care if you kill yourself or pray....but, I don't want it anywhere near me. Is that really that difficult a concept to understand?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
  11. saggyroy

    The religious right – divide and conquer. They are screwing up the country. Clearly the xtians are in charge and have been for awhile. They are responsible for the shape America is in.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm |
  12. verumestverum

    Kagan actually seems not to know that Roman Catholics ARE a minority faith in the USA. According to Wikipedia, Roman Catholics make up 20% of the population, unaffiliated 21% and Protestants a whopping 49%. How did she get to be a Supreme Court justice while being so demonstratively ignorant?

    CNN – Kagan 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.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • Doris

      It's pretty obvious that she was referring to the Christian majority versus non-Christians. That is, unless you insist that Catholics are not Christians...

      May 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm |
      • verumestverum

        That's silly. Ever been to Northern Ireland? I can say "monotheists" and then on that basis claim that Christians are not a "religious minority" in Muslim Saudi Arabia...but you would rightly say I was an idiot...just like Kagan.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
        • Doris

          I think the subject is the U.S. Now if you want to start splitting Christian sects and claim each is a minority – I most certainly can do that. Let's see there are some that still sacrifice people. Then we have those who officially claim the Pope is the antichrist. Then we have those that promote disease across the globe because of their unrealistic stance on contraception. Then we have those who let their children die rather than seek medical care. So do we really need to split the hairs in defining Christianity the way you seem fit for THIS particular argument?

          May 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm |
      • verumestverum

        Ever heard of thing called the "protestant reformation" or the "inquisition" or the "papal bull of excommunication" for all protestants? The two groups aren't exactly buddy-buddy.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      By your math, Christians are the majority. Catholics are Christian, ergo they belong to the Christian majority.

      I think you will find Jews (1.7%) to be the very definition of minority as far as religious affiliation is concerned.

      There are fewer Jews than atheist / agnostics (6 – 7%).

      May 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm |
  13. Semper Cogitatus

    ...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    People are allowed to pray, where ever and whenever they want, whether or not they work for the government. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, all people are allowed to freely exercise their religion. Get over it.

    Do you all seriously want the law to ban the religions you dislike from practicing their religion where you can see it?

    Get over yourselves. You are not hurt in the least by anyone, of any religion, praying, and the government is not there to protect you from seeing things you disagree with.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • observer

      Semper Cogitatus

      "People are allowed to pray, where ever and whenever they want, whether or not they work for the government."

      WRONG. Try standing up and praying in the middle of a Broadway show or movie theater.

      Try again.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:58 pm |
      • Semper Cogitatus

        No, you are wrong. The government will not stop you from praying in the middle of a Broadway show. The proprietor of a private business can tell you to leave, and if you are persistent the government will come along and enforce trespassing laws. But the law is very clear that the government can not pass any law preventing the free exercise of religion.

        Again, the government is not there to save you from being exposed to things you disagree with, nor to enforce your bigotries. Get over it, there a almost seven billion people in the world, and almost all of the follow one religion or another.

        How are you harmed by someone praying to a deity you don't believe in?

        Get over yourself, you petty, whining bigot.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • observer

          Semper Cogitatus ,

          Grow up. Would Jesus have said the juvenile insults like you did?

          Just another HYPOCRITICAL believer.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
        • Semper Cogitatus

          @ Observer – I'm not a believer at all. I'm just not a bigot like you. Would some itinerant preacher that may have lived 2000 years ago had an opinion on what I say? Who cares?

          Almost all people are religious. You are not harmed by any of them praying in public, not harmed even a little. Whether they cross themselves, roll out a prayer rug, or dance around naked with their bellies painted blue, it does not harm you at all. You want the government to stop others from doing harmless things that you dislike. You are a bigot.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:23 pm |
        • observer

          Semper Cogitatus

          Don't continue to make a FOOL of YOURSELF by calling someone you don't know a bigot.

          Don't act so DIMWITTED.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm |
      • eileenbp

        You would be stopped in a show if you prayed out loud not because it was a prayer, but because it was disturbing the show, just like if someone decided to recite Shakespeare outloud in the middle of a show. Prayer is not the issue in that example, disturbing/interrupting a show is.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
  14. sf49er75

    Enough with this misconception about the Founding Fathers and their endorsement of Christianity, etc...

    Educate yourself, read up on history, and realize that Thomas Jefferson wanted organized religion to die out and wanted to make laws based around this belief.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
    • dandydillmore

      Obviously the Nitwit who said that Jefferson was in love with Jesus has never been to Monticello or studied his beliefs. They were no where close to what was described.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
  15. sf49er75

    Meanwhile, I can talk on my cell phone, or make any obscene noise I want during their prayer, because I'm allowed to not have to pay attention or respect their request for the silence during this prayer

    May 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • primatica

      That's my plan...

      May 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • tcppp12

      Yet another great idea!

      May 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm |
    • Semper Cogitatus

      Absolutely true. Being rude is not illegal. Or, you could live and let live, and realize that a group of people praying to a deity that does not exist does you no harm at all. Do you seriously want to government to protect you from seeing things you disagree with?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm |
      • sf49er75

        I want a government that protects the minority over the majority.. that's a government that was intended by Thomas Jefferson.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
        • Semper Cogitatus

          You want a government that prevents the majority from practicing their beliefs in public? You want a government the prevents groups you disagree with from expressing themselves? You want to be protected from seeing things you disagree with?

          Get over yourself you petty, whining, bigot.

          May 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          semper....you are a complete azzhole. And....very un-christianlike as well. Remember when the majority in this country wanted to own other human beings? Remember when the majority in this country wanted to not allow women to vote? Fortunately, the majority doesn't always get their way. This is just another of those instances. Now....see if you can reply to people without using that condescending, demeaning, Christian tone....I'm betting you can't.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
        • igaftr

          Semper. No one is stopping anyone from practicing their beliefs. They are free to do so. It is simply inapproprite to expect to practice your beliefs on government time. Nowhere in christianity does it say you are to pray before business meetings, so praying before a meeting has NOTHING to do with your relgion. It is an inappropriate religious display on governemt time.

          May 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          simper, How would you feel if christianity were not the majority? Would you enjoy Hindu or Muslim prayers before each meeting?

          May 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
      • igaftr

        semper
        "does you no harm at all"
        Yes it does, it wastes time and money, so harms all.

        May 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • tavuka2

      when the muslims.. become a majority in the community.. they will demand to ban prayer.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
    • dandydillmore

      I suggest passing gas loudly....

      May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm |
  16. mikeithomas

    booooo-hooooooooooo..sure a lot of cry babies out tonight...way to go Kennedy...conservatives all the way!

    May 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
    • tcppp12

      This is NOT a conservative decision. This is a RELIGIOUS decision but you're too ignorant to even think for one moment that an atheist or a jew or a hindu or a (uh-oh) MUSLIM might actually be conservative...

      May 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
      • mikeithomas

        mama always said stupid is as stupid does....

        May 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
        • G to the T

          Then I'd say the SCOTUS is pretty stupid right now...

          May 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
    • educatedatheist

      Silly Lil Christians fairy tales are for kids. ...

      May 5, 2014 at 8:57 pm |
      • smartlawyerloquitor

        Which is why it's comforting to know that Jesus was an authentic historical person.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
        • mishatrotsky

          "Which is why it's comforting to know that Jesus was an authentic historical person."

          Hercules is the son of Zeus and a human woman. It's a myth changed for a different civilization.

          May 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
    • atroyfoster

      Well, when the highest court of the land is hijacked by a religious cult and sets out to destroy the fabric of our country by introducing state sponsored religion then it is not only time to cry but time for thinking Americans to stand against religious extremists.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
  17. aaaaa698085808

    Well, think about it. If we could force religious people to stop praying, couldn't we force atheists to pray?

    May 5, 2014 at 8:46 pm |
    • tcppp12

      That's just ridiculous and so off the mark. NO ONE IS TELLING YOU NOT TO PRAY!!! We simply would like for it not to be done by our GOVERNMENT and GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS!!!!

      May 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
  18. Promises Paine

    Hey, no problem. Let every other religious person pray their prayer at the same time. All faiths. Satanist, lol, Hell everyone!

    May 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm |
  19. pintodw

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

    What a shock.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
    • dandydillmore

      But this is way over the top.... throw the bums out. The Supreme Court of Clowns has just blown a huge hole in their credibility... I have zero respect for them... Prior to this I was wavering, but this is ridiculous.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
  20. ardvrk

    Christians, then listen up. If WE have to be forced to listen to you – then YOU will be forced to listen to us when we call you insane and ignorant for believing in fables and fairy tales.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Advertisement
About this blog

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.