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. Science

    The legal end from Bing !

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    CNN logo CNN 3 weeks ago
    When Christians become a 'hated minority'
    Hey Buffy..............from Bing.

    When Christians become a 'hated minority'
    The point where religious speech becomes hate speech is difficult to define, though, scholars and activists say. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama is a nonprofit civil rights group that combats and monitors hate groups. Three years ago, it... Full Article at CNN


    Have a great life.


    May 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  2. Why are comments "closed" on the Boy Scouts recent article?

    Again, why are comments "closed" on the recent Boy Scouts article?


    May 24, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  3. Why are comments "closed" on the Boy Scouts recent article?

    Why are comments "closed" on the Boy Scouts recent article?


    May 24, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • brad

      what? no really, what has ever changed by prayer? tell me just one single thing you can prove changed by prayer!

      May 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Post hoc ergo propter hoc

      Brad, anything anybody tells you will be dismissed by you as post hoc ergo propter hoc.

      May 27, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Super Duper

      Impossible to go back, comes to mind.

      May 27, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      May 28, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • birch please

      Your still here so apparently not.

      July 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  5. FPSC

    These radical atheist groups are basically acting as al-Qaeda's advance force and it's getting harder and harder to think they are doing so innocently. Disestablishing Christianity in America (and other Western countries) fits the Islamist agenda like a glove. First the atheists are successful in disestablishing the Christian foundations of a given society, then the Islamists rush in to fill the void. This is what has already happened in large European cities, especially in France and Britain where street gangs now enforce Shariah law. An Islamist would have every reason to cheer on these radical atheist groups every step of the way, until some day in the future when they no longer need them. Where are the successful atheist societies by the way? China? Cuba? North Korea? The former USSR?

    Every radical atheist group that launches lawsuits like this should be investigated for possible links to al-Qaeda.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      sure, the one thing atheists really want is sharia, that's what we really want to achieve!

      Your post is absurd.

      May 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  6. Tully

    @Onward Christian: Spreading Hate Speech is SO Classy! And from a Democrate on top of that. Nice!

    May 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  7. Zebula

    What don't these people get about SEPARATION of church and state?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  8. truth truth truth 2013

    JESUS says pray for your enemies, I pray that GOD have mercey on you because GOD is patient and when his patience runs out all you who mock him go to your doctor and check your health- mental-physical and let me no how it works out

    May 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  9. sam stone

    "God will NOT be mocked."

    Of course he will, he is impotent

    May 22, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  10. HeroesAre Rare

    Be very careful when you blaspheme. Remember, God will NOT be mocked.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  11. HeavenScent

    "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse." (1 Peter 2:18)

    May 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  12. HeavenScent

    "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22)

    May 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  13. derp

    You forgot muslims and sand niqqers.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  14. Portland tony

    Less prayer ..... More common sense!

    May 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Science


      May 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • HeavenScent

      "Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses." (1 Samuel 15:3)

      May 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  15. palintwit

    Everyone relax, Sarah Palin has proven there’s no such thing as climate change

    Pack up your temperature sensors, your climate-modeling supercomputers, your tree and ice core sample equipment. Sarah Palin has spoken on climate change, and she says it’s snowing in Alaska, ergo “global warming my gluteus maximus,” Q.E.D. And you know it’s science because she used the Latin word for “ass.”

    Prescient Palin only ever backs winning horses like John McCain, Bristol and Levi’s marriage, and her own gubernatorial career, so if she says climate science is a non-starter then by god, we’re just going to throw in the towel.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Observer

      Palin must know what she is talking about. She went to 5 different colleges in the 6 years it took to get her communications degree.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      The Scientists who first "discovered" Climate change RETRACTED their findings 5 weeks ago! Where the hell have you been? Did you MISS that Phtttt!
      There IS no such thing as permanent Climate Change. There are phases of SUN activity causing global warming or periods of dense cold like the ice age, which have been going on for centuries.

      For wannabee 'scientists' you don't know much! Me- I can't stand smart alecs.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  16. fintastic

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

    That's funny coming from a brainwashed christard........ your stench of ignorance is overwhelming.

    May 21, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  17. palintwit

    Off topic, but I just heard that Sarah Palin is on her way to Moore, Oklahoma to personally deliver a platter of s'mores to the tornado victims. That woman certainly knows just what to do in a crisis. Which is why she would make an excellent POTUS.

    May 21, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  18. Reality

    Tis tough to cure the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in religion.

    To wit;

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  19. hippypoet

    I don't give two sh.its if a believer of whatever faith wants to sit on the common ground in the center of town and pray...as long as I have equal ability to stand side by side and mock him. Public mockery is a time honored tradition and if religion is anything, it is an observer of tradition. Lets not break tradition now, after so long!

    May 21, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • Always™, The God of Traditional Menstrual Regulations

      No, we sure do worship tradition more than anything and wouldn't want to break it none. Nope. .

      May 21, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  20. Honey Badger Don't Care!

    "The policy now allows Wiccans and atheists to offer invocations."

    Sounds great on paper but how much do you want to bet that it would never happen?

    May 21, 2013 at 8:19 am |
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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.