Cross-posted from Mike Malloy
Dearly Beloved, is this how it begins? Fat Tony and the Supremes have knocked another hole in our Constitutional protection, guaranteeing separation of church and state with their 5-4 decision to allow public prayer in government meetings. CNN has more:
"The 5-4 ruling came in yet another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena. It was confined to the specific circumstances and offered little guidance on how other communities should offer civic prayers without violating the Constitution. Two local women sued officials in Greece, New York, objecting to invocations at monthly public sessions on government property. The invocations, according to the plaintiffs, have been overwhelmingly Christian in nature over the years.
"The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such 'ceremonial' prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer. Fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia went further, suggesting that even any 'subtle pressure' that local citizens might feel would not be enough to ban such prayers.
"In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said, 'When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.'
"A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be a 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.'"
Every day, Truthseekers, we inch closer to Christianity becoming the fully sanctioned government religion, complete with Christian prayer in schools, courthouses, state legislatures, county health departments -- you name it. After all, if you can tote a gun into a preschool in Georgia, shouldn't you conversely be permitted to lead a public prayer in the same classroom? Our (once) clearly-defined rights that form the fabric of our constitutional democracy are being airbrushed by Fat Tony and the Supremes.
USA Today has a little more about the background of this specific case:
"The legal tussle began in 2007, following eight years of nothing but Christian prayers in the town of nearly 100,000 people outside Rochester. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, a Jew and an atheist, took the board to federal court and won by contending that its prayers -- often spiced with references to Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit -- aligned the town with one religion.
"The two women contended that the prayers in Greece were unconstitutional because they pressured those in attendance to participate. They noted that unlike federal and state government sessions, town board meetings are frequented by residents who must appear for everything from business permits to zoning changes.
Dear God -- please grant us a new fire hydrant outside our elementary school -- amen.