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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. Doris

    Letting go of superstition

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yceHh5khkXo&w=640&h=360]

    Speakers in order of appearance:

    1. Lawrence Krauss, World-Renowned Physicist
    2. Robert Coleman Richardson, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    3. Richard Feynman, World-Renowned Physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    4. Simon Blackburn, Cambridge Professor of Philosophy
    5. Colin Blakemore, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Neuroscience
    6. Steven Pinker, World-Renowned Harvard Professor of Psychology
    7. Alan Guth, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Physics
    8. Noam Chomsky, World-Renowned MIT Professor of Linguistics
    9. Nicolaas Bloembergen, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    10. Peter Atkins, World-Renowned Oxford Professor of Chemistry
    11. Oliver Sacks, World-Renowned Neurologist, Columbia University
    12. Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
    13. Sir John Gurdon, Pioneering Developmental Biologist, Cambridge
    14. Sir Bertrand Russell, World-Renowned Philosopher, Nobel Laureate
    15. Stephen Hawking, World-Renowned Cambridge Theoretical Physicist
    16. Riccardo Giacconi, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    17. Ned Block, NYU Professor of Philosophy
    18. Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    19. Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford Professor of Mathematics
    20. James Watson, Co-discoverer of DNA, Nobel Laureate
    21. Colin McGinn, Professor of Philosophy, Miami University
    22. Sir Patrick Bateson, Cambridge Professor of Ethology
    23. Sir David Attenborough, World-Renowned Broadcaster and Naturalist
    24. Martinus Veltman, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    25. Pascal Boyer, Professor of Anthropology
    26. Partha Dasgupta, Cambridge Professor of Economics
    27. AC Grayling, Birkbeck Professor of Philosophy
    28. Ivar Giaever, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    29. John Searle, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    30. Brian Cox, Particle Physicist (Large Hadron Collider, CERN)
    31. Herbert Kroemer, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    32. Rebecca Goldstein, Professor of Philosophy
    33. Michael Tooley, Professor of Philosophy, Colorado
    34. Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    35. Leonard Susskind, Stanford Professor of Theoretical Physics
    36. Quentin Skinner, Professor of History (Cambridge)
    37. Theodor W. Hänsch, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    38. Mark Balaguer, CSU Professor of Philosophy
    39. Richard Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    40. Alan Macfarlane, Cambridge Professor of Anthropology
    41. Professor Neil deGrasse Tyson, Princeton Research Scientist
    42. Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Laureate in Physics
    43. Hubert Dreyfus, Berkeley Professor of Philosophy
    44. Lord Colin Renfrew, World-Renowned Archaeologist, Cambridge
    45. Carl Sagan, World-Renowned Astronomer
    46. Peter Singer, World-Renowned Bioethicist, Princeton
    47. Rudolph Marcus, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    48. Robert Foley, Cambridge Professor of Human Evolution
    49. Daniel Dennett, Tufts Professor of Philosophy
    50. Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate in Physics

    FEATURED MUSIC:

    Mozart – Requiem Mass In D Minor K 626 – 1. Introitus 00:03
    Massive Attack – Two Rocks And A Cup Of Water 02:28, 19:14
    Max Richter – Embers 05:13
    Ludovico Einaudi – Andare 09:27, 24:30, 26:31
    Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche 13:13
    Max Richter – Vladimir's Blues 29:21
    Ludovico Einaudi – Eni 30 Percento (The Earth Prelude) 33:16

    May 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
  2. auntiekale

    Too bad it isn't the Catholics who won this one, as a true atheist I could at least see praying to Pope Francis. I mean, WHAT A GUY! He's even letting us into his imaginary heaven-thing, I mean, WHAT A GUY!!

    May 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • tsnorris1965

      As a "true atheist" you KNOW there is not a god of any sort in the Cosmos. Can you prove it???

      May 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
      • Madtown

        LOL. That old trick. Impossible to prove a negative, but you know that.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          It is not an old trick...it is simply the reason even an arch skeptic like Bertrand Russell was unwilling to call himself an Atheist.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • Alias

          It is easy to prove your bible is flawed.
          What proof do you have that your god exists?

          May 5, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
        • Madtown

          It's a very old trick. Unless you can prove that Goblins wearing pink tutu's DON'T live on the dark side of the moon?

          May 5, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
      • cafeeine

        "As a “true atheist” you KNOW there is not a god of any sort in the Cosmos."
        A true atheist is anyone who doesn't believe in gods. All one needs for that is the complete lack of demonstrable evidence that gods exist.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          I am glad you admit atheism is nothing more than a "belief"...take your place in line with the rest of the "faithful".

          May 5, 2014 at 10:43 pm |
        • cafeeine

          If you read my comment with more care than you read the Bible, you would have noticed I said no such thing.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        You're the one making the claim (of a god) – you need to provide the evidence. All the evidence points away from personal gods as described in the various creation myths.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        2 things Norris...1, you can't prove a negative. I can't prove there is no Easter Bunny, but I'm pretty sure there is not. And second....atheists don't believe there is a god. That's all. We don't have enough proof of the existence of a supernatural being. There is no evidence at all. Feel free to worship whatever deity you want, but that does not mean you are right.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          Glad you are able to admit that atheism is a "belief system"...and nothing more...

          May 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        • gulliblenomore

          Norris....I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were reading impaired. I'll try to make it simpler for you. Lack of a belief in a god is not a belief. It is just the opposite. Does that help?

          May 6, 2014 at 8:02 am |
        • Madtown

          Just the same as NOT-collecting stamps is a pastime.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm |
  3. tsnorris1965

    "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details."--Albert Einstein

    May 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

      I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

      May 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • tsnorris1965

        Exactly...Einstein was a Deist...which is just as far away from Atheism or agnosticism as is Christianity or Hinduism.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
        • observer

          tsnorris1965

          "Einstein was a Deist..."

          WRONG. Einstein was an agnostic.

          Please do some research in the future.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          You were quoting Einstein as though he supported your imaginary god and he didn't.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          LOL...loser atheists proven wrong again: "Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble."--Albert Einstein

          May 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
        • cafeeine

          "From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist" –Albert Einstein.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • Madtown

          Christianity is much farther away from atheism than Deism. Deism is kind of middle ground.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Do you have any evidence of a god? Any evidence of your god? Still no. Einstein did not believe in personal gods, so don't make out that he did.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
        • observer

          tsnorris1965

          "LOL...loser atheists proven wrong again:"

          Speaking of being a LOSER:

          “The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. … For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish supersti-tions.”
          - Albert Einstein, letter 1/3/1954

          OOOOPS.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          And Einstein was OBVIOUSLY a believer in a universal principle, a first cause that corresponds to deity...not every believer is a snake handler, no matter how much you wish to pigeonhole them...

          May 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          Einstein did not believe in personal gods.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          “The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”

          –Albert Einstein

          May 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • observer

          tsnorris1965,

          “My position concerning God is that of an AGNOSTIC. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

          Instead of using juvenile name-calling, why not do some RESEARCH so you will know what you are talking about?

          - Albert Einstein, letter to M. Berkowitz, 10/25/1950

          May 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
        • Dalahäst

          He doesn't like it when atheists quote him to support atheism.

          "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human understanding, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."

          Albert Einstein

          May 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
        • cafeeine

          He was welcome not to like it, and had a good reason. He was interested in science, and did not want to get in a religious imbroglio. As a German ethnic Jew who escaped Nazism, that was understandable.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm |
        • observer

          "It was, of course, a LIE what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
          - Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist, 2/24/1954

          May 5, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • christianguy17

          I don't see how it matters what A. Einstein believes concerning religion. There is no proof, visible or tangeable, that can cause an atheist or anyone to believe in God (the only true God foind in the Bible). In fact, the Bible teaches God is found only by those whom God has chosen to reveal himself. As a Christian, we don't have to prove thr existence of God but just sprak His word. Repent from your sins and have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose from the dead after paying for the penalty of our sins and who now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:57 pm |
  4. rickdday

    The Supreme Court just, in effect, rewrote the First Amendment, striking the Freedom Clause.

    No longer are we 'free' from government condoned state religion. We are merely "Free" to spread the word of Our Lord And Savior Jesus Christ Amen, Inc.™

    Jesus Wept. No one is rendering to Caesar what is Caesars.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • tsnorris1965

      NO, everyone is still free to do exactly as he pleases as long as it does not injure anyone else. Including the vast majority of Americans who chose to have faith in some form of Deity.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
      • auntiekale

        HAIL SATAN!! Your one true lord and master :}

        May 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          Yes...the only religion I cannot tolerate is that of the militant Atheist.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
        • cafeeine

          Aahhh, the "militant atheist", the only kind of "militant" that doesn't actually carry out military operations, and who speak out at a softer timber than what, for a preacher would be called moderate.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
      • In Santa We Trust

        So you'd be fine with meetings in public buildings beginning with Shinto prayers?

        May 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          Yup. I have been to Buddhist as well as Hindu services and had no problem respecting either tradition.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          So to be clear. You'd be happy with non-christian prayer at each meeting?

          May 5, 2014 at 10:34 pm |
      • christianguy17

        No one is "free" on reality as mankind is either a slave to sin and satan or he is a servant and son/daughter to God. As Christ said, "you cannot serve both God and mammon (sin)".

        May 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
  5. auntiekale

    I hope this ruling is overturned shortly, it doesn't bode well for the future.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
    • tsnorris1965

      Exactly what court is going to "overturn" the SCOTUS, genius???

      May 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
      • auntiekale

        Give it time to sink in friend, you'll get there (and drop that silly book, it's only good for TP or fire starter)

        May 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm |
        • tsnorris1965

          You mean the Diamond Sutra???
          I am a Buddhist.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
        • auntiekale

          Tantrayana, should have known, more gods and realms of existence than Hinduism. Humans sure are imaginative!!

          May 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
      • Doris

        A later court. And I wouldn't be surprised based on the younger generation. Also note that even with all those Catholics, it was still a close call.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  6. danab1234

    “If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.”

    ― Penn Jillette

    May 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dalahäst

      “Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values.

      The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

      Science keeps religion from sinking into the valley of crippling irrationalism and paralyzing obscurantism. Religion prevents science from falling into the marsh of obsolete materialism and moral nihilism.”

      Martin Luther King, JR

      May 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
    • auntiekale

      The bible thumpers have "faith" that their lord would reveal itself to them again, no doubt (giant palm slap)

      May 5, 2014 at 10:27 pm |
  7. satinservant

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYNg28BAxro&w=640&h=390]

    May 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
  8. tsnorris1965

    "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods."-Albert Einstein

    May 5, 2014 at 10:13 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

      I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

      May 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
  9. tsnorris1965

    Thomas Jefferson would be proud !!!

    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

    May 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • Doris

      "[If] the nature of... government [were] a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I [would] consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits [will] exclude the advances of information, and they [will] seem exactly where they [have always been]. And there [the] clergy will always keep them if they can. [They] will follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a tow-rope." –Thomas Jefferson

      May 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
      • tsnorris1965

        Great. But the quote has zero relevance to the court ruling.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
        • Doris

          Maybe not to the ruling, but certainly gives more depth to Jefferson's thoughts than how you characterized them.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Doris

      "The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man." –Thomas Jefferson

      May 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
      • tsnorris1965

        See above. Completely irrelevant to the court ruling.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          It is part of the thinking that led to separation of church and state which SCOTUS is chipping away at.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:17 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

      May 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
      • tsnorris1965

        No one is mixing religion and government here. The sky is NOT falling.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
        • Doris

          Oh but I disagree. Kagan is on the mark with her dissent. And 5/4 is close considering all the Catholics on board.

          May 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • Madtown

          They're not? Here's a quote from the first sentence of the article:

          "...object to sectarian prayers before government meetings."

          May 5, 2014 at 10:21 pm |
    • Doris

      "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 10:15 pm |
      • tsnorris1965

        And that separation is fully preserved.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm |
        • In Santa We Trust

          How? If public meetings or government meetings can start with a prayer where is the separation?

          May 5, 2014 at 10:24 pm |
  10. tavuka2

    this is a joke... right?

    May 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
  11. jacknyd

    You don;t like it stay outside I agree 100%
    Why should people who want to pray be deprived because of the idiots who don't .

    May 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
    • Madtown

      Why can't you just pray in the car before you come into the meeting?

      May 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • observer

      jacknyd,

      How PITIFULLY WEAK is your religion that you feel you HAVE to pray during public meetings?

      May 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • cafeeine

      You can pray before you enter the public meeting, you can even pray during the meeting itself (using your inside voice). What you should not be able to do is, under the authority of the state, lead others into sectarian prayer. And if you don't understand why, wait until a majority muslim, or hindu, or atheist city board conducts prayers that you disagree with.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
    • rickdday

      Answer the question. Why do you feel compelled to pray in public, forcing everything to stop and everyone to wait until all the mumbo jumbo clears?

      Why is it so important to you that without it, at a government public meeting, that you feel less closer to your god?

      ANSWER THE FRIKKIN QUESTION, BELIEVER!

      May 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm |
    • danab1234

      I would be embarrassed to pray especially in public. Keep that nonsense to yourself.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:20 pm |
    • theotherbob56

      So not wanting to pray at a public secular governmental meeting makes you an idiot? I would offer to pray for your miserable soul, but I fear it would be fruitless.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:28 pm |
  12. andy232323

    "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers." George Carlin.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
  13. danab1234

    Why don't they pray at the end so the non-brainwashed people can get a jump on the traffic?

    May 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm |
  14. narchais

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Fantastic! Its been getting ridiculous at the utter hypocrisy that the liberals have been drumming up lately. "Grr, why is all the money and power in the hands of a select few?" What they fail to realize is they've been the select few that have been manipulating everything Glad to see the Supreme Court finally remembered that they represent the UNITED STATES, not just a handful of butt hurt minorities who would rather screw over everyone else than make any accommodations themselves.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • rickdday

      "Under God" was added in the 1950's to that socialist pledge. And it's not "one nation, under Christ".

      eye/mote/beam

      May 5, 2014 at 10:07 pm |
      • tavuka2

        you know in the bible there are many sayings that have many meanings... to learn about some of these "other meaning" and how to discover even more by yourself.. go to the web site Caesar's Messiah...
        ok.. lets look at the 'Under God" thing... that under god could also mean...
        the god is the government ..
        as it really is to the those who RUN the government..
        The god is the ruler...aka.. then government...
        under something... is a metaphor for ... having se......x...
        so if you look at it like a bible joke.. as the Roman's really knew it is.. the bible is a joke book.
        the "Under god" really means the nation is being skrewed by the government.. Which we all know is TRUE..
        So what is really being said..
        one nation.. US...= the people
        Under= is being skrewed
        god =.. by the government,

        May 5, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
        • G to the T

          "Under God"

          No. "Under god" could mean any god that one could lay claim to. Under "God" has historically ALWAYS referred to the christian god in western society. That's part of the problem.

          May 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • Doris

      Sadly the court has done anything but represent the Consti.tution and the ideals of those who wrote it with this decision.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
    • theotherbob56

      Go somewhere else if you want to live in a theocracy. This decision ranks up there with Dred Scott and Citizens United as horrible miscarriages of justice.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
  15. mmoriusa

    I pledge Allegiance to the flag
    of the United States of America
    and to the Republic for which it stands,
    one nation under God, indivisible,
    with Liberty and Justice for all.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:01 pm |
    • auntiekale

      you forget to mention which one of the gods...

      May 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • educatedatheist

      I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America into the Republic for which it stands one nation under God who is invisible with liberty and justice for all....

      May 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
    • observer

      mmoriusa,

      Yep. Not what the ORIGINAL said or intended.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm |
    • chris688

      The original was:
      I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

      Under God wasn't added until 1954.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • rickdday

      socialist...

      I pledge to no piece of cloth!

      May 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • theotherbob56

      Why do people such as you apparently forget that "under God" was added in the 1950s?

      May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
  16. tavuka2

    if nothing else.. the city hall will be the most prayed in building in town.. everyone will show to show off their prayers...
    10 minutes to God
    10 minutes to jesus
    10 minutes to Allah
    10 minutes to Ra
    10 minutes each for the 15,000+ Hindi gods = ~ 2500 hrs..
    10 minutes to Buddha
    10 minutes to each of the unknown gods.. ~ 1 million... 200K hrs
    10 minutes to each of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian gods ~ lets just guess.. add another 200K hours
    10 minutes to
    so I would suspect that by the time all these prayers are done.. most of the people at the meeting would be long dead before the last prayer is done. and the whole reason for the meeting would be long forgotten.
    a nice testimony to the Age of Supernatural Stupidity.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
    • educatedatheist

      sad thing is they will still get the same amount of work done

      May 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
  17. danab1234

    Get some common sense people.

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

    May 5, 2014 at 10:00 pm |
  18. wellentreatied55

    Atheists, agnostics and other non-religious folk in Greece, NY, and elsewhere, should incorporate as a religion and test the sincerity of those who claim this is about religious freedom by asking to give a solemn statement at a board meeting. Why not? Atheism and agnosticism are profound ideas as much as Calvinism and Catholicism, and a prayer is a solemn statement. Of course, this decision is all about ostracizing those outside mainstream religion. Dark day for America's pluralist society Jefferson's goal of separating church from state.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      All they have to do is invite a Secular Humanist to give the invocation – regularly.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm |
    • rickdday

      but they won't. Christians are the most intolerant group of haters on the planet.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
  19. tsnorris1965

    What's the problem???
    The believers can spend 3 minutes worshipping their God...
    And the Atheists can spend 3 minutes worshipping themselves.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • Alias

      What's next?
      The skinheads will get 3 minutes to try to convert people too?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • Alias

        How silly of me. Skinheads are christians. This does protect their rights.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
    • auntiekale

      LOL, why on Earth would an atheist worship themselves? Churches must be desperate if they are teaching that kind of nonsense these days...

      May 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm |
      • cafeeine

        Projection. It is precisely what most believers do, except they project their ego onto the god of their choice. They assume atheists must do the same, just without the middle man that makes them feel all humble. (And because this is that kind of thread I will point out that I know not all believers act that way, so I don't need your testimony to that point, honest Christians)

        May 5, 2014 at 10:08 pm |
      • rickdday

        What churches worship is the allmighty dollar, and the leaders who want to turn us into JesusLand.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm |
    • theotherbob56

      The fact that you don't see the problem is part of the problem.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm |
    • igaftr

      tsnorris
      "What's the problem???"

      Seriously, you don't see the problem?
      When you take a class, does the class start with a prayer?
      At work, do all of your meetings start with prayer?

      of course not, because it is INAPPROPRIATE
      So why do you think it is OK to waste the peoples time with prayer before doing the peoples BUSINESS?
      It is just as inappropriate as if I went to your religious service and discussed zoning issues.

      The whole prayer thing at government mettings was the christians putting their religion not only above others, but in places where it has no valid reason to be.
      SCOTUS is simply wrong in this case, but then they are christians, so their bias is rooted depply.

      May 6, 2014 at 8:23 am |
  20. auntiekale

    Creeeeeepy ruling! Another backwards step for us, heading back to the Bronze Age and biblical values. Hopefully the thinking folks can at least snicker and snort as the prayers to Gods are uttered...

    May 5, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • tsnorris1965

      Good job, Auntie. If you say "Bronze Age", it makes you sound really, really smart.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
      • auntiekale

        Pre-Iron Age?
        World was flat era?
        Colds are caused by witches so we should burn them days?
        Don't know anything, so "god" did it years?
        Magical creator deity fairy tale times?

        May 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      atheists are by and large haters. they seem to forget or perhaps never knew that this country was founded by Christians, not atheists, not muslims, not hindus. start your own country atheists and leave us Christians alone.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
      • Doris

        Ah ha ha ha. WRONG. Are you still trying to reconcile metamorphosis with evolution wandering gray matter?

        May 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          great. another "thinking" and compassionate unregenerate bubbles up from the primordial ooze ..

          May 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • auntiekale

        oh, read a history book!!

        May 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm |
      • theotherbob56

        Another revisionist claiming the country was founded by Christians for Christians. If that was the case, the Separation Clause would never have been written. They recognized the destructive power of religion in the political/governmental sphere.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
      • gulliblenomore

        scot....do you know anything about this country at all? You are not allowed to infringe on other peoples rights at all. You can't blow smoke in my face and you can't ear fvck me with your blabbering BS prayers. Really...is that too hard for you so-called Christians to understand? It's such a simple concept, you would think even you people would get it.

        May 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
      • mishatrotsky

        "leave us Christians alone."

        Timeline of Xtianity:

        pogroms>Crusades>plague pogroms>Inquisition>Luther>Kristallnacht>Holocaust

        May 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm |
    • awanderingscot

      "thinking folks can at least snicker and snort as the prayers to Gods are uttered..." that's great advice auntie, it shows just how compassionate and caring godless people are.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm |
      • auntiekale

        or how ridiculously painful it is that 21st century Humans believe such malarkey?

        May 5, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
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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.