May 20th, 2013
10:28 AM ET

High court to review church-state dispute over public prayers

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - A dispute over public prayers at town board meetings will be taken up by the Supreme Court in coming months, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the public arena.

The justices announced Monday it will decide whether a New York community may continue what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its town board sessions. The policy now allows Wiccans and atheists to offer invocations.

But some local citizens sued and a federal appeals court found the policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.

The petition will be argued later this year or early in 2014, with a ruling ready by the spring.

The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696).

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Courts

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. nclaw441

    We have come a long way (down the wrong road, in my view) from "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" to prohibiting citizen prayers at local government meetings as "endorsing" (not establishing) religion. No Congressional act, no law of any kind, no establishment and top it off by prohibiting citizens' free exercise of religion.

    May 21, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • fintastic

      Explain how this is "prohibiting citizens' from free exercise of religion??

      May 21, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • nclaw441

      Invocations at public meetings have been the practice since this country was founded. To now say that certain forms of invocations are prohibited because they allegedly "endorse" a religion is an infringement on the free exercise of religion, just as limiting the topics of discussion in the "public forum" section of a town meeting (we have these at every Town Council meeting in my town) would infringe on the citizens' free speech rights.

      May 21, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!


      We also had sIavery for quite a while. I guess that you are one of those people who wouldn't mind having that back too. Even though I have a house there NC is such a backwards state.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Joey

      If you want to pray to god before every meeting, then it is only fair that I be allowed to pray to Satan to close every meeting. If you are not o.k. with that then there should be no prayers to anyone.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • The real Tom

      nclaw, what makes you think that you are better qualified to decide what the law means than those who are appointed to the bench? Do you have a law degree? Then why would you think that you can interpret the meaning of law better than someone who DOES have one?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • The real Tom

      Where does it say that anyone is forbidden to pray? If you want to pray before a meeting begins, no one can stop you. You simply wouldn't be permitted to lead everyone in prayer just because you're a Christian and want to show off before your god. Why is that such a problem for you and others? Can't your god read your mind? Why is it necessary to speak your prayers aloud in a group?

      May 21, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • ME II

      "To now say that certain forms of invocations are prohibited because they allegedly 'endorse' a religion is an infringement on the free exercise of religion..."

      So your religion requires government sponsored invocations before town board meetings?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • JMEF

      I visited the legislature of Ontario, Canada as part of a delegation and was surprised to hear both the lords prayer and a muslim prayer at the opening. I then learned that they rotate prayers between the many religions practiced in there territory. So my question to you is would you object to this practice being followed by our governing bodies?

      May 21, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • JMEF


      May 21, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Science

      Education....................Bill and nclaw441.............and faith the peach !

      Moving forward CREATIONIST............chadieie too ............ you might want to take a blood test?

      Scientists Find Genes Linked to Human Neurological Disorders in Sea Lamprey Genome



      Facts work .

      May 21, 2013 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |

      May 21, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  2. Observer


    "your education is flawed. You read what is meant for your generation to read."

    With much of your education based on stories from 2,000 years ago at best, you really have no basis for talking about "flawed" education.

    May 21, 2013 at 1:10 am |
  3. The real Tom

    Oh, can it, you old hag. If you don't like this world, then leave it.

    May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  4. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    What is it about Arizona and right wing activism.

    They're almost as bad as Colorado Springs down there.

    May 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Fikken Dü

      It's because that's where a ton of Mormons have been invading and settling outside of Utah. They bring their stupid with them.

      May 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  5. HeavenSent

    Observer, your education is flawed. You read what is meant for your generation to read.

    May 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  6. Austin bluff

    That is a response YOU HAVE NO BETTER ANSWER AS TO WHY!

    May 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • HAH!


      May 20, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
  7. HeavenSent's Toxic Camel-Toe Dance Party

    I usually go to bed early on Monday night because "Arrested Development" is too close to home.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  8. Observer


    "I respect research and the history it offers"

    If you did, you wouldn't claim that Hitler was Jewish.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    Tom, I respect research and the history it offers. Not like you atheist changing what doesn't suit your per v erted ways.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  10. The real Tom

    Again, idiot, do you really think new research is LESS revealing than old research?

    May 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  11. HeavenSent

    The real Tom, go tell the NLM that you consider them no longer of use. .

    May 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
  12. HeavenSent

    Still stalking phony heavensent, no matter what ploy you steal with that lack of imagination.

    May 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  13. The real Tom

    HeavenScat, when you research a medical procedure, do you only look for information published BEFORE 1970? What kind of moron thinks that later research is inferior to previous research?

    May 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
  14. HeavenSent

    The above post is phony HeavenSent. God is watching.

    May 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  15. HeavenSent

    The above is phony HeavenSent, and God is going to punish that Scotty Tommie-Tom.

    May 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  16. HeavenSent's Toxic Camel-Toe Dance Party

    The winds of change will warn you that I am near. Be upwind.

    May 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Once an unimaginative BAITER, always an unimaginative BAITER.

      May 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent's Toxic Camel-Toe Dance Party

      Just grab your partner and dosey doe!

      May 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • psst's understudy

      It's "do-si-do."

      May 20, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent's Toxic Camel-Toe Dance Party

      Not always psst! Not in here!

      May 20, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      psst's understudy, these dodos will be extinct as well.

      May 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • Meatwad

      This beat is the mad note ya'll. Why ain't you dancin'?

      May 20, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Honey Hush

      Obey the word of the Lord as written in the bible.
      Timothy 2:11
      I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be SILENT.
      Go wallow in the mud, the practice would suit you.

      May 20, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You should pay close attention to your 2nd name hush,

      Joel 2:28

      And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:


      May 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • fintastic

      @heavenstench.............. "You should pay close attention to your 2nd name hush,"

      as opposed to the voices inside your head..

      Your babble is bullshlt

      May 21, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • HeavenSent

      My name is HeavenSent. I help convert religious nut jobs to atheism by posting quotes from a fairy tale book.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • HeavenScent

      "Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock." (Psalm 137:9)

      May 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  17. HeavenSent

    Observer, there's plenty of proof but, that would mean researching before 1970.

    May 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  18. HeavenSent

    God know all about you phony heavensent.

    May 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  19. Observer


    There is NO PROOF that Hitler was Jewish.


    May 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  20. HeavenSent

    Jesus' truth knows I am one crazy bitch.


    May 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
1 2 3 4
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.