Christians and the Town of Greece NY won, and the Constitution, liberty and freedom lost in the 5-4 Supreme Court decision on May 5, 2014 to allow government meetings to begin with a religious prayer. This horrible decision will have far reaching effects, none of them good.
The debate was over a small town in New York State wanting to have a prayer before government meetings, an act opposed by a resident Jew and atheist. The court determined – wrongly – that the decision to allow prayer did not violate the Constitution First Amendment on separation of church and state.
As a friend of mine says, the only way to have complete religious freedom is to have a completely secular government. That way, everyone can worship – or not – as they see fit in the privacy of their own homes and houses of worship. In this case, the Christians got their foot – or perhaps their whole body – in the door to prevent a reasonable solution for this divisive argument.
The decision would even allow the inclusion of “Jesus” something not found in Judaism and mentioned only as an average prophet in Islam. For worshipers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. the mention of Jesus would be an affront.
Much of this decision was based on past tradition. “We’ve always done it that way, why do we have to change?” Of course you can make the same argument with a lot of other things throughout history in the USA and world.
We have always had slavery, why change now? (Changed in 1863 and more dramatically in the 1960’s.)
We never allowed women to vote, why should we change? (US women gained the right to vote in 1920.)
Women don’t have rights to own property, why should they now? (Changed sporadically through the 1800’s.)
Women never practiced law, why should they now? (Changed in 1971.)
Children always worked in the mines and textile mills – why shouldn’t they continue? (Federal Child Labor Laws enacted in 1916.)
The obvious answer is that just because we have done things in the past, does not mean that they were right or that we should continue them. The fact that prayers were conducted in past meetings of federal, state, county and city governments, does not mean that it was good or is right.
And naturally, Christians are not interested in freedom of religion, but only the freedom to inflict their beliefs on the rest of the country. Considering that about 20 percent of us – or 66 million – are atheists, agnostics, skeptics, non-believers and such, that is not exactly fair. In fact, it is not fair at all.
Religion should be practiced at home or in private places of worship, regardless of the religion. You can silently think a prayer at any time and any place, without having to involve others and inflict it on them.
But the door has been opened. Now all we have to do is wait. Wait until we have a devout Muslim opening a government prayer meeting by praying to “Allah the one and only God and to Mohammad, his one and only prophet.”
That’s when you will see the fur fly with Christians running around saying “Wait a minute – that’s not what we meant!” Yes, it is and was, only Christians did not realize it at the time. Those religious chickens are going to come home to roost.