November 6th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
Let us pray? Supreme Court divided on God in government
By Bill Mears and Daniel Burke, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Should prayers to God open government meetings?
That's the controversial question a divided Supreme Court debated on Wednesday.
At oral arguments about whether public prayers at a New York town's board meetings are permissible, the high court took a broad look at the country's church-state history and even the Supreme Court's own traditions.
Two local women sued officials in Greece, New York, objecting that monthly Town Board public sessions have opened with invocations they say have been overwhelmingly Christian.
But the case's implications extend far beyond upstate New York and could have widespread consequences, according to constitutional scholars.
"This is going to affect communities across the country," said Charles C. Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center.
The frequent court battles over public prayers, Ten Commandment memorials and holiday displays might strike some Americans as silly, but they touch on deep questions about national identity to reach back to the Founding Fathers, Haynes said.
"It's a long struggle in our country about self-definition and what our country was founded to be. That's why we keep circling back to these emotional and highly divisive questions."
At Wednesday's oral arguments, the court's conservative majority appeared to have the votes to allow the public prayers to continue in some form, but both sides expressed concerns about the level of judicial and government oversight over prayers presented by members of a particular faith.
"We are a very religiously diverse country," said Justice Samuel Alito, who worried about the town officials setting up binding guidelines. "All should be treated equally. So I can't see how you can compose a prayer that is acceptable to all these" religions.
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor worried about the effect on local citizens who choose not to stand and bow their heads when asked during a public prayer. "You think any of those people wouldn't feel coerced to stand?"
MORE ON CNN: Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court
The high court began its public session Wednesday as it has for decades, with the marshal invoking a traditional statement that ends, "God save the United States and this honorable court."
The town outside Rochester began allowing prayers to start its meetings in 1999, after years of having a moment of silence.
Co-plaintiffs Linda Stephens and Susan Galloway challenged the revised policy, saying officials repeatedly ignored their requests to modify or eliminate the practice, or at least make it more inclusive.
"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens said.
"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 hearing concerns from the two women and others, it sought diverse voices, including a Wiccan priestess, to offer invocations.
Officials said 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."
Congress and state legislatures regularly open their sessions with prayers.
One question before the Supreme Court is whether local government bodies are different, in that there might be more active involvement with local citizens, who may want to personally petition the town in zoning, tax, and other matters.
MORE ON CNN: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna
Justice Elena Kagan explored the limits of permissible government action by using the Supreme Court as an example.
She asked whether the court could suddenly invite a Christian minister to invoke the following prayer, inside the ornate marbled courtroom: "We acknowledge the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross." "Would that be permissible?" asked Kagan.
Attorney Thomas Hungar, attorney for the town of Greece, suggested courts were different, and that the national legislature had had similar prayers since the nation's founding.
"Whatever line might be drawn between nonlegislative bodies and legislative bodies," Hungar said, "it would be incongruous, if Congress could have legislative prayers and the states couldn't."
But the lawyer for the plaintiffs, supported by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said unlike legislatures, Greece had no official policy on prayers.
"The policy should give guidelines to chaplains that say, 'Stay away from points in which believers are known to disagree,'" said Douglas Laycock, who represented the two women objecting to the prayers. "And we think the town should do what it can to ameliorate coercion. It should tell the clergy: 'Don't ask people to physically participate.' That's the most important thing."
But some justices on the high court expressed doubts about the extent to which lawmakers - and later courts - should advise various faiths about what to say, and parse what is sectarian or not.
"Give me an example of a prayer that is acceptable to all of the groups that I mentioned," said Alito, whose list included Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.
When Laycock suggested something like, "The prayers to the almighty, prayers to the creator," Alito and others were unconvinced, saying polytheists might object.
"What about devil worshippers?" asked Justice Antonin Scalia, bringing laughter to the courtroom.
"Well, if devil worshippers believe the devil is the almighty, they might be OK with it," responded Laycock, smiling.
"Who was supposed to make these determinations? Is there supposed to be an officer of the town council that will review?" asked Chief Justice John Roberts. "Do prayers have to be reviewed for his approval in advance?"
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who may prove to be the swing vote in his petition, was especially vocal.
"It just seems to me that enforcing that standard involves the state very heavily in the censorship and the approval or disapproval of prayers," he said. "I'm serious about this. This involves government very heavily in religion."
He also suggested small towns deserve as much right to allow a brief prayer in public sessions as federal and state bodies.
"In a way it sounds quite elitist to say, 'Well, now, we can do this in Washington and Sacramento and Austin, Texas, but you people up there in Greece can't do that.'"
Several members of Congress were in attendance at the argument, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.
"Every day before the Senate meets, the Senate chaplain comes out and gives a prayer, and that's important to us," Rubio told CNN just after arguments ended.
"It's part of our country's tradition; it's also our constitutional right, to be able to exercise that. And I thought it was important to defend that here today."
Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with 18 state attorneys general, have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. The Obama administration is doing the same.
Stephens and Galloway, the two plaintiffs, said they have faced harassment from their community and even vandalism of their property.
"The pastors face the people (in the meetings), they don't face the town government, so it's like they're praying over us," Galloway told CNN after the argument.
"When they all stood and I sat, and I have a hundred eyes looking at me, and questioning what's going on, they think I'm being disrespectful. It does put a lot of pressure on you and it makes you very uncomfortable. It singles you out, and that shouldn't be in my town government, and it shouldn't be anywhere."
The high court has generally taken a case-by-case approach on determining just when the state intrudes unconstitutionally into religion, while generally allowing faith to be acknowledged in a limited basis in public forums.
"In God We Trust" remains on currency; the Pledge of Allegiance and oaths of office mention a divine creator; and menorah and crèche displays are permitted in local parks.
But the justices acknowledge the tricky line they must walk - politically, socially and legally - when deciding church-state cases.
"It's hard because the (Supreme) Court lays down these rules, and everybody thinks that the court is being hostile to religion, and people get unhappy and angry and agitated," said Kagan near the end of Wednesday's oral arguments.
"Part of what we are trying to do here is to maintain a multireligious society in a peaceful and harmonious way. And every time the court gets involved in things like this, it seems to make the problem worse rather than better."
The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696). A ruling is expected by early summer.
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.
“Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.”
~James Madison, letter, 1822
If you don't care what some slave owning people in the wilderness had to say 2,000 years ago...why care what some slave owning person from the wilderness 200 years ago had to say?
The slave owner from 200 years ago was one of the Founding Fathers of this nation, and what he has to say is relvent to this topic. Did YOU have a point to make?
"was one of the Founding Fathers of this nation, and what he has to say is relvent to this topic."
He's 200 years out of date and irrelevent.
He also had stuff to say like good ol Jefferson and approved of slavery. But somehow I think you would consider his opinions on that inst itution as out of date.
I think we can all agree we don't care what you have to say.
"we can all"
Nice fallacy. Obviously untrue.
You believe in your fallacies. I'll believe in mine.
“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
-Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813
Parying, hey. So, let me get this straight. I think a silent thought like "please God, help me pass my exam tomorrow," and the being that is powerful enough to have created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies reads my mind and alters what would otherwsie be the course of history in small ways to answer my prayer.
And you believers wonder why we atheists think you are a little simple.
if the bible is the word of god then every single word and punctuation mark must be followed and revered! If even one word is proven incorrect, contradictory, foolish or made up by man, then the whole book is worthless and unless you are god himself, you cannot judge which parts of the bible can be disregarded and which should be followed, which are truth and which are allegories. You must follow it ALL or discount it ALL.
I have never met a Christian who follows the bible even close to completely. You are all frauds!
Your postings of our government's creators are better than whining like this. Stick to the higher ground.
It's no wonder your name is "dyslexic". You keep posting that same old nonsense over and over again, despite the fact that your argument has been defeated and you've been told otherwise. i should know, because I'm the one who told you. Which means that you're a habitual and a pathological liar. Which is typical of all atheists. And all you ever do is tell lies. Ever wonder why most atheists tell so many lies? Answer: That's easy. If because if they told the truth they wouldn't have an argument. So why not go crawl right back under that rock you just came from under. I think it's a bit early for you night crawlers to be out of bed...
It would appear that you don't know the meaning of the word "dyslexic."
It would also appear he doesn't have any evidence to back up his religion other than the book that says it's so.
This nation was founded for those that wanted religious freedom. We are 'One Nation Under God" and "In God we Trust" We have gotten away from Religion and God that's why we are in the shape we're in. Believers are the majority here and if 14% of the population objects, tuff. I think we need more prayer especially now. If atheists don't want to hear it, let them bring ear plugs. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but come on people it gets more ridiculous the stupid things people complain about.
Think of all the things we are already doing against the will of God – abortion, gay marriage, etc. etc. etc.
So you're cool with government and judicial events being started with prayers to Allah, Thor and Satan in addition to your god?
Be careful what you wish for.
This country needs more morals and common sense, not more sheep.
So religious freedom is ONLY for the religious??? BTW the 2 quotes you reference both came to be during the Cold War. PLEASE go educate yourself.
"A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be an unconst itutional violation of the Const itution's Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion. Those judges said it had the effect of "affiliating the town with Christianity."
Want religion in government? move to Iran
Not according to God's law. And God's law is all that matters. On Judgment Day, even those Court judges will be judged...
Which "god"? Not that it matters since this government is secular in nature...and religious practices here are NOT above the laws of the land. Don't believe me? See any virgin sacrifices or voodoo murders here??
Which god's law?
Your tinfoil hat is showing.
So OV, let's go your evidence for your god. Here's a list:
Start of List
End of List
What did I miss?
Come on, dude – chime in.
Are you cool with a Wiccan ceremony before government and judicial events?
I'll cast the circle, if you call the Quarters. ; )
Nah – I don't believe in the Wiccan stuff either. But you don't see me going around insisting it be in everything or wanting it to go away either. If wiccans want to do their thing, cool. Just don't force it on anyone else.
I know, just playing with you! I'm not Wiccan, but practice a native American path. I have no issues with prayer to the Divine, Universe etc. It's when the trinity is invoked that I open my eyes and glare at the person saying the prayer. When they do that it excludes so many... Actually, when it gets right down to it – I believe that God is simply the collective energy of all living things past and present.
When exactly was America godly and righteous?
In the days of insti/tutionalized racism?
The McCarthy era?
The Reaganite "moral majority" years?
Heavy – it's even worse than that! Did you realize that we now let black people and women vote? And marry?
This nation is going down the tubes.
Allah Ackbar. God is Great. Praise the Lord Allah and we can eliminate all these sins here on earth.
I love how religious people only think of themselves........god frowns on abortion...gay marriage....REALLY....another closed minded and hateful "believer in god" ....not getting into the gay marriage because.....religious people are way too hateful to have an intelligent conversation about gay marriage........ anyhoo...how do you think your god (if he did exist) would approve of the way humans are destroying our planet?t.....how animals are dying due to our pollution......so many other bigger problems than gay marriage...don't you think? anyway, continue to be closed minded and self important like so many religious people i know.....
So, you really don't know that "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God" are recent additions, not from the founding fathers.
This country was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion – that is what the founding fathers ACTUALLY said, in the Treaty of Tripoli, approved without any issues by all of Congress and the President.
Atheists are truly haters.....but the fact is Atheists' denial of God is a religion in and of itself. They believe in something strongly, and they have a following. That's a religion. LOL.
atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby
There is a little thing called "evidence" that differentiates atheist views form those of people who believe in sky fairies.
atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color
Only fundie atheists. Most just don't want religion in their face.
Please explain how an absence of religion is a religion.
And also please explain how asserting our rights (just like YOU have) is being hateful? Why is leveling the paying field such a threat to you?
Bob, you're an idiot... LOL
" They believe in something strongly, and they have a following. That's a religion."
So, Republicans and Democrats, etc. are a religion?
So, vegans and vegetarians are a religion?
So, sports fans are a religion?
I'm a devout aunicornist!
Our forefathers were extremely religious, and made reference to God all the time. What is wrong with admitting that you can't do everything on your own, and calling upon a higher power to assist? Imagine a mother who just lost a child....you better believe that mother will be praying for comfort and guidance.
I remember after 9/11 all churches were filled to the brim. It seemed everyone in American was religious all of a sudden. Perhaps it will take another 9/11 to help us wake up and humble ourselves a bit more.
We all need opiates every once and awhile.
"What is wrong with admitting that you can't do everything on your own, and calling upon a higher power to assist?"
Do you feel the same way if that "higher power" is Thor, Poseidon, or Bob Marley?
Wow...you really have no idea about anything do you?
People grieve and deal with loss without the need for any religious belief all the time...just because YOU can't comprehend it does not mean that it does not happen...
And some of the FF may have been religious but it was not any belief like we have today.....many were deists and evern Jefferson rewrote the bible to get rid of all the supernatural bits.
Oh – and, our forefathers also once thought the earth was flat, it was OK to invade other countries and subjugate them in the name of your gods and that slavery was a necessary and viable part of commerce.
1. “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789
After 9/11, the good religious people filled the churches to praise Allah, the true God!
Allah Ackbar. God is Great!
“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams
I like this one because it is not just a personal correspondence. It is a US law ratified by Congress. While quoting personal correspondence gives evidence regarding the author's feelings on an issue, quoting a federal law defines the position of the government on it.
“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814
Atheists on this message are a bunch of haters, I'll go pray for you guys.
Hmm we defend ourselves and react to being vilified for hundreds of years....and you think we are hateful? Well go ahead and pray...nothing fails like prayer!
Why would you deliberately antagonize people by doing something "for" them that they obviously don't want done?
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm sure that will make them happy.
Exactly. Teach them the following 10 Commandments..
1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.
5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.
Right on, brother! I agree 100%.
It's funny too that the typical Atheist USED to be very religious, and someone in that church probably said something to offend him/her, and becoming atheist is their way to rebel and throw a temper tantrum.
Actually bill, the one thing that, more than anything, turns believers into atheists, is education, particularly in the sciences.
You really believe that atheists leave churches in order to throw temper tantrums?
You DO believe in some whacky stuff!
Actually most atheists used to be religious....and then they started asking questions and exploring other possibilities and educating themselves. When you stop taking things "on faith" and start doing the work of learning things change.
You'll find most atheists know your religion better than you do, have actually read the bible, and have done comparative and historical research to see not only how Christianity plagiarizes other older religions, but also how the bible changes so dramatically like a bad game of "telephone".
Most atheist live in Asia or Europe and were never religious.
Pray as much as you like and how you like in you own home and cult clubhouses. If you pray in public, please respect those around you and their space. Thanks in advance.
"So I can't see how you can compose a prayer that is acceptable to all these" religions."
This sentence is meaningless.
Of course it is possible to venerate a higher being which created heaven and earth independent from the own belief. The order of the creation is a clear proof for the existence of such a higher being. It is very unlikely that this higher being wishes our mutual (assured) destruction because in that case he better had not created us. The simple fact that he has created us should us lead to mutual love in order to preserve each others life. If we live such a love we are certainly in accord with the higher being. Such I live of love must be the actual adoration of the invisible God.
The special thing of Christianity is that it reveals a way to get this unselfish love towards every human being. Let us be honest. By nature we are selfish. Love of neighbour is a thing which we cannot produce in ourselves but which must be given to us from outside. This is the core matter of Christianity: How to get unbiased love.
However a lip servic through which he or she venerates the unknown higher being should be possible for everybody independent from his or her belief. Yet a lip service is not yet the perfect adoration of God. The perfect adoration of God is when we give our body as a living sacrifice, that means when we overcome our selfish nature through Jesus' love which he can give us.
Example: Dear higher being, we adore you watching your marvelous creation. Please reveal us the true religion. Yet, up to the day when you will reveal the true religion towards us we will at least try to love our neighbour, and to abstain from all evil.
Of course today many parts of the creation are deformed through human depletion. However there are still islands of beauty. I myself was very impressed by the beauty of the island Madeira, and gave thanks to God that he has made such a nice island.
Maybe South Africa is also a very marvelous place.
Are you asking for money or just blathering on?
Someone needs to get up and lead a satanic ritual before their session, complete with blood pentagram made from the blood of their fresh sacrifice.
Maybe then, they will understand how other groups feel about their prayers. If you aren't ok with the above, you shouldn't be ok with there prayers either, there is absolutely no difference between the two.
If they want to say "let truth and wisdom guide this court", that's perfectly fine. And you can privately translate that to god, or gods, or satan, or no gods, or the great flying spagetti monster, or whatever, if you want to.
What I said earlier.
These folks just don't get it.
Exactly. Having a moment of silence was perfect. That allowed everyone to do whatever was in their hearts to do – if you wanted to pray, pray... if you wanted to chant a satanic ritual, chant away.... if you wanted to do nothing at all, go for it. Forcing a religious prayer on people is just not necessary. It constantly baffles me how many religious people yell and holler about how persecuted they are while at the same time making sure their beliefs are firmly entrenched down the throats of others. smh
Religion is all about hypocrisy
Faith is required to believe any worldview, including atheism. Do you know for sure there is no God, have you investigated every argument and evidence for the existence of God? Do you possess exhaustive information on the question of God? Can you answer every objection to atheism? Of course not, atheism requires faith and it's the religion of atheists who are tying to force it on everyone else..
Many Atheists consider Atheism to be simply a lack of belief in god(s), nothing more. As such it is not making any claims and is not a belief, religion, or faith.
Um, no...atheism does NOT require faith. You need to do some research before posting on things you have no knowledge of.
And BTW....I do not have to prove that Unicorns do not exist...I only would have to prove that they did if I was asserting that they did.
Satan, who tries to get everyone to deny God and live a life full of selfishness, would use the exact same argument you used.
So...satan uses logic?
Oh, I don't believe in the devil either.
Satan? the guy who planted the dinosaur bones to fool us?.
Would not Satan also try to convince us that he is God? hmm... who else does that?
BTW – acknowledging that we do not know something does not require faith.....but using "god" as the default answer to everything you do not understand is beyond reason.
From the mouth of Satan himself. 🙂
So my use of logic makes you think I am satan?
Well, your lack of it proves to me you are religious.....
"Do you know for sure there is no God ...", your whole post just went south due to this one comment. Atheists do not claim to know there is no god(s), the only statement an atheist would make is "I do not have any belief in the existence of a god or gods". This statement requires 0 faith and does not make it a religion; what you consider "atheism religion" other people consider secularism.
Faith is required to believe any worldview, including Leprechaun atheism. Do you know for sure there are no Leprechauns, have you investigated every argument and evidence for the existence of Leprechauns? Do you possess exhaustive information on the question of Leprechauns? Can you answer every objection to Leprechaun atheism? Of course not, Leprechaun atheism requires faith and it's the religion of Leprechaun atheists who are tying to force it on everyone else..
Believers love to play the "this means that" game. Just like when they interpret the babble.
If there is no God, why do you all do anything that isn't to just get ahead? As long as you don't get caught what does it matter? There are no long term consequences and no Moral guidepost. Why be upset about who enjoy necrophelia? There is no afterlife, the person is dead. It doesn't hurt anyone.
So if you believe there is no God and have a problem with Necrophelia and other "Deviations" perhaps you should re-evaluate your belief.
Morality has nothing to do with religion.If you need some bronze age deity to tell you that hurting another person is wrong then you have larger problems.
"If there is no God, why do you all do anything that isn't to just get ahead? As long as you don't get caught what does it matter?"
Because I was born with a normally functioning human brain that allows me to feel compassion and empathy. If this is a difficult concept for you you probably were not, and I would agree that for you the restrictions of religion are necessary.
It does rather amaze me how willing people are to confess to being inherently evil by asking this question. I suspect they genuinely have no idea what compassion and empathy feel like and so don't understand how vile they sound to the rest of the world. It's scary to know these folks are out there restrained by nothing but religion from rap.ing and murdering.
You probably think that killing someone is alright, if there is no god to answer to. How sad and scary.
Better yet, I'm willing to bet he would say that when El/Yahweh commanded people to kill others it wasn't murder because everything god commands is moral...
Wow, you're way out there, aren't you? One doesn't have to believe in any diety to know that hurting others is wrong. The best example of the hypocrisy of religion is the old 'convert or die' doctrine that christianity used for centuries to force people to convert. This is the group you want people to flock to?
Cant pray in school and you cant pray in town hall either so get over it. Religion is personal so please keep it to yourself.
When they all stood and I sat, and I have a hundred eyes looking at me, and questioning what's going on, they think I'm being "disrespectful. It does put a lot of pressure on you and it makes you very uncomfortable. It singles you out, and that shouldn't be in my town government, and it shouldn't be anywhere."
But thats being human, at anytime, with anything, when you do something odd, you will always be the odd one out and people will notice. Your feelings are yours, if you care. But no matter what the court or anybody says, when you are the odd one, you will always stand out
Why are the TAXPAYERS paying for a minister for the Senate? If the Senators want religious guidance then let THEM pay for it.
Jesus said he'd rid the world of evil, Thor said he'd rid the world of Frost Giants. I see evil in this world, I see no Frost Giants.
Therefore Thor is real and Jesus is a zombie myth from pre-Iron Age Middle East.
I laughed so hard I'm now Thor...
Those darn Frost Giants!... LOL
Religion is dumb
Yes, hopefully it will wane significantly in the coming decades 🙂
If we were to look at the original intent of the founding fathers with respect to the establishment clause in historic context, there can be no debate that the founding fathers were largely Christians or Deists - the establishment clause should be that the Government shall not do anything to favor one religion over another.
Of course, if were were truly looking at the original intent of the founding fathers there would be no individual rights to gun ownership expect pursuant to being a member of a "well-regulated" militia and corporations would not have 1st Amendment rights,
Of course, this has become a political debate, not one of the law.
Wouldn't it be great if there were any archaeological evidence (PROOF!) of any one of the thousands and thousands of Gods created by Man? Coooooooollll!
(I would vote for Osiris over Tiamat, and Odin over any of the elemental Gods)
dunno, Ra makes for a good case, as does Raiden...
I'm a Christian, but the USA does not represent only Christians. A prayer is not appropriate at a town meeting, in the same way that I would not want the town to be able to enter my church or home and tell me how to pray there.
The people that want to say a prayer before local government meetings – how about meeting 15 minutes before the town meeting in another room and open it to those that want to pray. For those that have a thing about prayer being "removed" from schools – No I would not want a teacher, coach or administrator leading a prayer either. But that doesn't stop a student from bowing before a test or school event to say a prayer on their own. You don't need a big group of people to say prayers. It should be personal – just you or you and your family. In fact, there are references in the bible where public prayer is discouraged and those that do so are hypocrites.
i'm an atheist and i give you a 10+ for this post
a reasonable christian that knows it's not right to push your religion on others
he/she understands they can pray before or after work, at home, in a church or at a park
if you're at your gov't job, do some work - save religious ceremony for an appropriate time
thank you very much for your post
I am also a Christian and I completely agree. Christians don't even agree with one another on questions of faith and religious practice - that is why there are so many denominations. I can see no way for this to be anything but a practice that will always exclude some beliefs. That is fine in your private religious practice but it is not acceptable in public government.
Well said. By having the government neutral on religion, it protects all of the forms of christianity as much as it covers the hindu, mulsim, pantheist, buddhist or atheist.
If all religious folks felt this way we wouldn't be having this conversation.
I agree with this 100% too. Expressed very well. Thank you.