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Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court
November 1st, 2013
04:39 PM ET

Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN)– Linda Stephens has lived in her upstate New York community for more than three decades and has long been active in civic affairs.

But as an atheist, those views have put her at the center of a personal, political, and legal fight that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue is public prayer at her local town board meetings, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena.

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home.

"I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

The town of about 94,000 residents counters that after concerns from the two women and others, it sought diverse voices, including a Wiccan priestess, to offer invocations. Officials say they do not review the content of the remarks, nor censor any language.

"The faith of the prayer giver does not matter at all," said John Auberger, Greece's board supervisor, who began the practice shortly after taking office 1998. "We accept anyone who wants to come in and volunteer to give the prayer to open up our town meetings."

A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.

Those judges said it had the effect of "affiliating the town with Christianity."

"To the extent that the state cannot make demands regarding the content of legislative prayers," said Judge Guido Calabresi, "municipalities have few means to forestall the prayer-giver who cannot resist the urge to proselytize. These difficulties may well prompt municipalities to pause and think carefully before adopting legislative prayer, but they are not grounds on which to preclude its practice."

Some legal experts say while the high court has allowed public prayers in general, it has not set boundaries on when they might become too sectarian in nature.

"The case involves a test between two different kinds of legal rules," said Thomas Goldstein, SCOTUSblog.com publisher and a leading Washington attorney.

"The Supreme Court has broadly approved legislative prayer without asking too many questions. But in other cases where the government is involved with religion, it has looked at lots of different circumstances. So we just don't know whether this court will be completely approving of legislative prayers in this instance."

The justices are now being asked to offer more firm guidelines over when and if such public prayers are constitutionally acceptable.

Felt marginalized

Galloway and Stephens say the elected board of the community outside Rochester almost always invited Christian clergy to open the meetings, usually with sectarian prayers. And they say they felt "marginalized" by the practice.

"When we tried to speak with the town, we were told basically if we didn't like the prayers, we didn't have to listen," said Stephens, "or could stand out in the hallway while they were going on."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington-based group that is representing the two women, cited records showing that between 1999 and 2010, approximately two-thirds of the invocations contained the words "Jesus Christ," Jesus," Holy Spirit," or "Your Son."

And the lawsuit claims that from 1999 through 2007, every meeting had a Christian-only invocation. Following the complaints from the plaintiffs, four other faiths were invited in 2008, including a Baha'i leader and a Jewish lay person.

The plaintiffs say the Christian-only invocations resumed from January 2009 through June 2010. They claim those invited to the monthly meetings were selected by a city employee from a local guide that had no non-Christian faiths listed.

"Politics and religion simply don't mix, and they certainly don't mix in the local context of the Greece town council," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, AUSCS executive director.

"The town seems to take the position that because once or twice over a decade, it hears from someone of a different religion, that somehow is inclusive. It trivializes what's going here - a local government that should be willing and interested in participation of all its citizens, it wants those citizens to participate in an almost inevitably Christian prayer, in order to begin doing their business."

Different rulings

While the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York last year unanimously ruled against Greece's policy, other courts around the country have found such invocations - if inclusive and limited in scope - to be permissible.

Congress regularly opens its sessions with a prayer. Wednesday's invocation by House Chaplain the Rev. Patrick Conroy began: "Eternal God, we give you thanks for giving us another day. Once again, we come to ask wisdom, patience, peace, and understanding for the members of this people's House."

Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with several state attorneys general have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. So has the Obama administration.

"The history of prayers offered in connection with legislative deliberation in this country makes clear that a legislative body need not affirmatively solicit a court-mandated variety of different religious faiths– from inside and outside the borders governed by the legislative body– in order to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause," said Justice Department lawyers' in their amicus brief.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry based in Scottsdale, Arizona, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Greece Town Board, saying the Supreme Court has upheld the practice of government bodies "to acknowledge America's religious heritage and invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work."

"A few people should not be able to extinguish the traditions of our nation merely because they heard something they didn't like," said Brett Harvey, an attorney for the group. "Because the authors of the Constitution invoked God's blessing on public proceedings, this tradition shouldn't suddenly be deemed unconstitutional."

Stephens realizes the stakes are high for her community and for the law as a whole. But on a personal level, this legal fight has been tough.

"I've received something of a backlash, both Susan and me," the retired librarian said. "Threatening letters, some vandalism to my property, things like that. The prayers, and all the controversy, it makes you feel like an outcast, like we don't count in our town."

The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696). A ruling is expected by early summer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (6,237 Responses)
  1. keven

    I'm a Christian and its just not necessary. I believe in God, but I'm not going to stop and pray before paying my bills or buying a car.
    Business is business. Just get on with it.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Hear, hear.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  2. Rochester

    If you're holding a public meeting at say 7PM, officials could hold a prayer session at 6:50 and announce that for those who are interested. For all others, just show up at 7. Problem solved.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Sure, off of public property.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Greek Orthodox Christians can practice Kourbania around 15 minutes prior to the opening of the public meeting.
      For those not interested in sacrificing a goat in the name of the Holy Trinity, just show up later.
      And maybe bring a little mint jelly.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Igaftr

      Problem not solved...you are still using government property in support of religion.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  3. truthprevails1

    Dear god, I thank thee that thou hearest me. I know u always hear me but for their sake I say this that they may no u r my father.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • Rebecca

      This Christian nation has been more tolerant of atheists than atheistic nations have been of Christians.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:06 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Correction

        'This secular nation has been more tolerant of atheists than atheistic nations have been of Christians.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:09 am |
        • Rebecca

          If a pie is 80% apples, it is safe to call it an apple pie.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:12 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Yes.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • Rebecca

          At least you agreed with the last half of my statement. That's progress.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I agreed to the whole statement.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:17 am |
        • Rebecca

          Thanks!

          November 4, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Minus the 'Christian nation' part, of course.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:32 am |
        • CharlesP

          Rebecca
          Is it accurate to call a Dalmatian simply a "white" dog?

          November 4, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Lisa

          Rebecca
          If apples are the only fruit in your pie, then sure, but if you add something like rhubarb then it becomes an apple rhubarb pie, correct? We have more than just Christians in this pie we call America.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • Rebecca

        Oops. This was supposed to be a response to Tom Tom's comment.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:16 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Oh alias thief, good thing people are not foolish enough to think you are me. If you really want to pretend, try hacking in to my wordpress account next time.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:02 am |
  4. Rebecca

    What about building riches in Heaven?

    November 4, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • CharlesP

      Not everyone is so greedy, my dear.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Hello faith...steal any good names lately?

      November 4, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  5. Rebecca

    Where did the matter in the Big Bang come from?

    November 4, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Skeletor.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:02 am |
      • Rebecca

        Do you have any proof of this?

        November 4, 2013 at 9:04 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Open your heart to Skeletor and He will provide the proof.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Do you have any proof that your god did it?

          November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32FB-gYr49Y‎

        November 4, 2013 at 9:14 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          BLASPHEMY!!!!

          November 4, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Rebecca

      "Where did the matter in the Big Bang come from?"

      Where did the xtian god come from?

      November 4, 2013 at 9:32 am |
      • Rebecca

        Thank you for that great answer.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          He is illustrating the loop of infinite regress one falls into when postulating a Creator God.
          If something cannot come from nothing, what created the Creator ad infinitum....

          November 4, 2013 at 9:40 am |
        • Rebecca

          It's irrelevant to know how the creator got created to know how the creator created matter.
          That's a question for another day.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Nice tongue twister.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Rebecca
          And so the issue is side-stepped.
          Regardless, is it not preferable to say "we don't know where it all came from, but we're seeking the answer" as opposed to halting further inquiry by firmly saying "God did it"?
          Many things are unknown, but nothing is ultimately unknowable.
          The insatiable curiosity that drives our species forward is a boon, not a curse that led to all perdition as the Bible would present it.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          Exactly. If you can say that your god existed forever then I can say that our universe existed forever. A claim that is supported with no evidence can be dismissed with no evidence.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • Ted

          Rebecca, do yourself and the blog a big favor and google "argument from ignorance fallacy". Read up on it. Seriously.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:07 am |
        • CharlesP

          It's actually a whole lot easier to believe in a natural universe that has existed, in one form or another, infinitely than in an infinite, ultra-complex and powerful super being capable of creating a universe out of nothing.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • Rebecca

          Maybe to you it is, but not to me.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • Ted

          So, Rebecca, did you look up "argument from ignorance"?

          November 4, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Opposing View

      Rebecca... Answer: There was no Big Bang...

      November 4, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Kenrick Benjamin

        We all know God did it using Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding. We are just trying to figure out how it was done through science (Knowledge) but we keep forgetting the Wisdom and Understanding aspect of it all.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:22 am |
        • Opposing View

          That's because you have no Wisdom or Understanding....

          Proverbs 24:7 – Wisdom is too high for a fool...

          November 4, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Opposing View, slow down, the atheist got you all worked up. God created the Universe using knowledge, wisdom and understanding, it is written in the BIble book of Proverbs chapter 3, verse 19 and 20. Some people only look at the Universe from a scientific (knowledge) perspective and forget that Wisdom and Understanding is just as important as knowledge(Science).

          November 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Kenrick.
          There is no indication that there were any gods involved.
          As for your book., it also says there was a world wide flood, which never happened and you can raise striped goats by having the goats stare at striped patterns to make striped goats.
          Certainly no a valid source of actual knowledge.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Richard- I saw on the science channel discovery that some of the greatest scientific minds, had simulated a creation of the Universe. Some say that the Bible is a 2000 year old book, yet before anything like science, it stated that Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding is what created the Universe. We often talk about evolution and natural slection, how do you think animals assimilate. For example with a Camellia it happens at an instant because of the animal capability. In the Bible book of Proverbs tells you, in all your getting get Understanding.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          I meant to say Chameleon not Camellia.

          November 5, 2013 at 7:44 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Kenrick
          You refer to opinion and a simulation as if they bolster your arguement?
          There is no indication that any gods exist, a simulation is just one possibility with very low probability of accuracy.
          Chameleons change theie appeqarance as they have the ability to do so, what do chameleons have to do with anything?
          You can sit and discuss all the myriad possibilities all you want, does not chnage the fact that no one knows.
          As far as the bible, it is worthless in trying to advance knowledge. It is clearly NOT representative of reality, to think it is is just delusional, since so much of it is clearly false (or have you bred striped goats the way the bible tells you to).

          If you want to discuss myth, legend and what might but is very unlikely to be, then bring your bible, I'll bring the silmarillion and a copy of star wars and we can fantasize all day long.
          Put those things away when trying to determine ACTUAL knowledge...your book is only a distraction.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:08 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Richard- That's your opinion, keep telling yourself that science and man got all your answers.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:45 am |
        • Fallacy Spotting 101

          Posts by 'Kenrick Benjamin' contain multiple instances of the Argument from Ignorance fallacy.

          http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

          November 5, 2013 at 9:56 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Kenrick
          Abraham's God actively discourages seeking Knowledge, Widom, and Understanding.
          The original sin for which all of mankind is forever cursed is the acquisition of self-awareness against God's explicit command.
          When mankind worked together to create a great edifice so that we might explore the heavens, God threw a tantrum and cursed His most favoured creations so that we might never again work together efffectively.
          The first three Commandments are orders to stop questioning, obey and don't look anywhere other than the Bible for answers.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          How many times must someone tell you that NO ONE KNOWS before you stop saying we know. We do not, but looking for hte answers in the bible is NOT the way to find what reality is comprised of. Keep telling yourself the bible has validity, even though it clearly does not.

          November 5, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          As your name implies.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:01 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Richard- Like I have told you, that is your opinion.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Doc- I will just say this and leave it at that, you are WRONG.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • Gordo

          Kenrick, given that all you can do is shout that Doc, who is a very rational poster, is 'WRONG', without being able to support your statement, and after a whole series of bizarre claims by yourself, I think we can safely conclude that you lost the argument.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:10 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Gordo- You can say what ever you like, i didn't know that i needed your approval.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Kenrick.
          Not my opinion. The bible has many many places where it is cleally false.
          You cannot make striped goats by having goats stare at stripes.
          There has never been a global flood.
          You cannot determine if a woman is unfaithful by putting dust from the floor into holy water and having her drink it.

          Just a few examples...are you trying to say that those are all valid, that there is some basis in reality for any of that?

          November 5, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRNZHFr69t4

          November 5, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Doc Vestibule

          @Kenrick
          What happened when Adam and Eve at the magic apple?
          What were the people of Babel up to and how did God respond?

          November 5, 2013 at 10:39 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Richard – You don't believe that God exist, so what difference does it make.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Doc- you claim to have knowledge, yet you are alive.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Tony

          Kenrick clearly has lastworditis, but obviously lost the argument in this thread long ago. I agree with Gordo.

          Kenrick, go suck an egg, loser.

          November 5, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Richard Cranium

          Kenrick.
          I do not believe YOUR defintion of a god is correct, not that there isn't a possiblitiy that one or many might exist...just no definition is sufficient.
          I am an atheist ( I do not believe in any of mens gods), but I am also agnostic, and open to whatever ACTUALLY is there, just we do not know yet, maybe never.

          You think your bible is full of answers, I know it is full of something else. YOUR mind is closed.

          Let me ask you directly. Are you right, or is there a possibility that you and your bible are wrong?

          November 5, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Tony- say what you may, look science have something to tell you Idiot.

          November 5, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Observer

          Kenrick Benjamin,

          The greatest punishment ever was for a woman listening to a talking serpent and trying to get KNOWLEDGE.

          November 5, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Richard- For me the Bible is inspired (Guided) by God, It's a Guide as to how my life should be lived in relation to Man and God. My definition for God is define by his Name JEHOVAH.

          November 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • kenrick Benjamin

          Observer- No wonder you think the way you do, you lack understanding.

          November 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • kenrick Benjamin

          Yes Richard God led the Bible, he gave Moses the first 5 books called the Torah.

          November 6, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • yoozyerbrain

        Let's try this argument;

        Using the smallest number available, archeological evidence sees modern humans existing for 100,00 years.
        So for 97,000 years, god sat up there and watched all of humanity in all of it's expressiveness, and then 3000 years ago he decides "whoa, that'll never do" and revealed himself in the most ignorant backwater on the planet at the time, not China which had writing, or India which had a 6000 year old civilization, no he went for the ignorant backwater.

        Ok, so he does this and chooses a group of people out of all of the people that HE CREATED, AND THEN CAN NOT KEEP THEM FROM BEING ENSLAVED BY OTHERS WHO HE ALSO CREATED. Then he can't just wave his hands and free them, no, they have to wander for a few decades...weak- as s god if you ask me. And a horrible father-figure as well, favoring some of his children over others. I'd never do that, it's a "SIN".

        Then he continues to create non abrahamic people JUST TO THROW INTO ETERNAL TORTURE BECAUSE THEY AREN'T believers in the abrahamic nonsense...stop me when this gets too ridiculous. No it's already too ridiculous. What an evil construct this ideology is!

        Cmon man! Education is the enemy of ignorance, fight the ignorance!

        November 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • Sara

          Well in hindight, sure, its kind of silly...but evil seems a little harsh.

          November 5, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • WASP

      Rebecca
      "Where did the matter in the Big Bang come from?"

      i could have sworn i already explained all that in a different opinion piece..............and i even kept it simple, just for you.
      read some basic science and learn that the universe WAS NOT created by magic.

      November 5, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  6. Truth

    As a Christian I don't see a problem with the ruling. But what if the town hall leaders called for a moment of silence before every meeting? What do you all think of that?

    November 4, 2013 at 8:46 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      It's pointless. Just get on with the meeting.

      November 4, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Igaftr

      Come prepared for the business of the meeting. If you want to pray for a moment before entering the meeting go right ahead.

      If you go to a college class, do you always start with a moment of silence? No...you get to the business of the class. Same with anything else.
      Do you start your work day with a moment of silence? Of course not, why would you do it here?

      November 4, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Truth
      A moment of silence is usually a sign of respect for those that passed away. It may have a religious connotation to some and not at all to others, just a gesture of respect.

      November 4, 2013 at 8:56 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Correct! Why can't people understand that "no religion in government ever" is best for everyone?

        November 4, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          One problem is that many religionists (generally Christians in this country) see not being treated favorably as being persecuted. Another problem is that some idiots equate secularism with state atheism.

          November 4, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • WASP

      a moment of silence would be fine, we do that for fallen soldiers, etc etc etc. what each person does with that moment, pray(quietly), meditate, organize thoughts, or plan dinner for the evening is up to them. however having a prayer run by a figure head in front of everyone is rude and against the law.

      November 5, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  7. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Prayer does nothing. Even if you believe in an invisible sky daddy you arent going to change his mind or his "plan" by praying.

    November 4, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Opposing View

      You're absolutely right. God does not hear a sinner. Since you're a sinner, I guess no one should know that better than you…

      John 9:31 – Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth...

      November 4, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        😉

        November 4, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • Nodack

        But if that sinner repents then God hears him and forgives him. How does he hear his repent if God doesn't listen to sinners in the first place? Pretending not to hear them or just selective hearing?

        November 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  8. Fred Evil

    If ANYONE can come make a prayer, that seems rather pointless.
    Do away wit this divisive and silly practice.

    November 4, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  9. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    Matthew 6:5
    And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward

    Matthew 6:6
    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
    .

    November 4, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  10. truthprevails1

    So, tell us. How did we get here?

    Dodo, it was them stooges!

    This is the best they got. Lol great job, DM murdturd

    November 4, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Oh troll of many aliases, shouldn't you be getting ready for school now?

      November 4, 2013 at 7:37 am |
  11. Say What?

    There is an easier way to solve all of this. Have the prayer outside on public sidewalk. If they want to pray, or whatever, they can do it outside. Sick and tired of these Atheist getting what they want.

    November 4, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Oh you poor poor persecuted christian.

      November 4, 2013 at 7:15 am |
      • Say What?

        Oh you poor, poor bast...

        November 4, 2013 at 7:18 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Does your imaginary friend forgive you for being hateful?

          November 4, 2013 at 7:19 am |
      • Say What?

        opps, sorry, i meant another word from the bible.....I didnt mean to insult Bast....

        November 4, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Say What?

      The only true outcast in this case is Linda Stephens.

      November 4, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • Realist

      Why pray? Nobody is listening ..... Because ...

      ****************************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ****************************************

      November 4, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • RUKiddingMe

      You really think that having to assert their rights through extended legal proceedings is what these Atheist (sic) want?

      November 4, 2013 at 7:22 am |
      • Sara

        They really do. Their two choices are 1) to admit they're wrong and that people really do suffer from they're unfair and unconsti tutional actions or 2) imagine that the atheists and others enjoy spending their time and money on lawsuits. Much though it twists the hell out of logic they choose option 2 rather than admitting to being wrong.

        November 4, 2013 at 7:55 am |
      • Bruce McClure

        The atheists already won. This extended legal battle was brought by the city.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Sara

      They can have the prayer outside or schedule a separate meeting beforehand, paying for the space and services, and still have the meeting start on time. Just don't take up my time with ritual sacrifices, magic ceremonies, prayers or voodoo.

      November 4, 2013 at 7:52 am |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        That sounds like fun. Out on the lawn, even at the Capitol Buildiing in DC, ritual sacrifices, magic ceremonies, prayers,voodoo – let's have a circus with fire-breathers, trapeze flyers and all the rest too.

        November 4, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummm. . . Holding the prayer / voodoo session outside on a public sidewalk means we atheists win. Thank You. When you are done conducting your rituals outside, come on in so we can get to work on government business.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • Nodack

      I am a Devil worshiper and I demand we pray to the devil before ever public event, otherwise you are persecuting me.

      November 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  12. Sara

    Any god that relies of weak humans to determine the wellbeing of other weak humans has been avoiding responsibility.

    November 4, 2013 at 7:10 am |
  13. Realist

    ****************************************

    ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

    ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

    ****************************************

    November 4, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Realist

      ****************************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ****************************************

      November 4, 2013 at 7:09 am |
  14. Science Works

    1st Amendment Says Nothing About "State" Religion!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlZSwYuZ57g

    November 4, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • Science Works

      Footnote: Key word Respecting !

      The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Const-itution, stating,

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. .

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Establishment_Clause

      November 4, 2013 at 6:33 am |
  15. Blessed are the righteous—The ungodly will perish.

    Psalm 1

    1 aBlessed is the man that bwalketh not in the ccounsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the dscornful.

    2 But his adelight is in the blaw of the Lord; and in his law doth he cmeditate day and night.

    3 And he shall be like a atree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall bprosper.

    4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the achaff which the wind driveth away.

    5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

    6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the arighteous: but the way of the bungodly shall perish.

    November 4, 2013 at 6:13 am |
    • SCOTUS

      AMEN!

      November 4, 2013 at 6:17 am |
    • Realist

      ****************************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ****************************************

      November 4, 2013 at 7:04 am |
  16. AvdBerg

    Why have a debate in the Highest Court when people's prayers are all in vain and why are they all in vain (Matthew 15:9)?

    God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:31). In fact God heareth where two or three are gathered in His name (Matthew 18:20).

    What does it mean to be a sinner, and how does one overcome it (1 John 5:4)?

    All those that call themselves Christians are not necessarily followers of Jesus Christ, but rather followers of an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24).

    For a better understanding of the above article and the history of 'Christianity', we invite you to read the articles 'Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?', 'What is Sin?', 'Victory over Sin' and 'The Decline and Fall of a Divided Nation (Matthew 12:25)' listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9, and what mankind must do to be reunited with the true and living God.

    November 4, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • Realist

      ****************************************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ****************************************

      November 4, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Still stealing advertising space again?

      November 4, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  17. round peg in a square hole

    From the article:

    "Felt marginalized"

    Apparently, public prayer wasn't the only thing that make them feel that way. Such feeling is part of the package when you chose to belong in the second-class minority.

    November 4, 2013 at 4:58 am |
    • HotAirAce

      And what second-class minority would that be? Atheist, Jewish, non-christian, non-white, educated?

      November 4, 2013 at 5:29 am |
      • round peg in a square hole

        Secret...If I tell you, I'm going to.........TELL you. LOL!

        November 4, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • truthprevails1

      So you think Atheists are below you...how very christian of you!!

      November 4, 2013 at 7:18 am |
  18. Joseph

    Stop donkey punching my wife!

    November 4, 2013 at 4:34 am |
    • Linda

      Don't you worry, darling..I will sue that donkey and I assure you that I'll get my day in court. But thanks though, MWWAAAHHH!

      November 4, 2013 at 4:46 am |
      • lol?

        LOL!

        November 4, 2013 at 4:47 am |
  19. Atheist to get 'hair' day at the Supreme Court

    She's going to have a bad one, for sure.

    November 4, 2013 at 4:31 am |
    • lol?

      LOL!

      November 4, 2013 at 4:42 am |
  20. krhodes

    Is that the only reason for an atheist existence...suing people? Maybe they should spend their time doing some good for the world like the Christians do...you know, give time, money, help to those in need?

    November 4, 2013 at 4:24 am |
    • saggyroy

      About 90% of the world subscribes to some religion or god. The god or religion is always right and good and loving. It seems the believers are in charge, and have been for thousands of years.. Now look at the shape of the world we live in.

      November 4, 2013 at 5:57 am |
      • Sara

        I don't know if I'd describe all Kali worshippers this way, but yeah, if is the major trend in the last couple of thousand years.

        November 4, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Sara

      I guess you missed the part about how the more religious you are the more likely you are to vastly exagerrate your charitable giving...

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/the-flesh-is-weak-churchgoers-give-far-less-than-they-think_b_1846516.html

      November 4, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • Igaftr

      krhodes
      Maybe you shuld pay attention before posting. She is the one being sued by the town.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:01 am |
      • Sed

        Good catch. krhodes just got PWNED bigtime. Bigtime, baby, bigtime.

        November 5, 2013 at 10:48 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.