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Supreme Court rules in favor of Christian prayer at town meetings

A step in the right direction was validated by the Supreme Court by a ruling which allows prayer at the beginning of government meetings.
A step in the right direction was validated by the Supreme Court by a ruling which allows prayer at the beginning of government meetings.

By a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that prayer being offered in town community meetings were constitutional in a ruling Monday, May 5th in a case known as the Town of Greece v. Galloway.

The decision concluded a six-year long process that was filed by some residence of Greece who believed opening prayer was unconstitutional although many prayers were sectarian. There have been numerous complaints from those objecting to prayer being offered in government meetings although the complainers are in the minority.

As one can guess, religious organizations hailed the decision as a huge step to validate the First Amendment. The amendment forbids restricting the free expression of religion, however there have been lawsuits and judges that have place restrictions on prayer, a clear violation of religious freedom.

Senior lead counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom David Cortman who represented the town of Greece said that “the Supreme Court has again affirmed that Americans are free to pray. In America we tolerate a diversity of opinions and beliefs; we don’t silence people or try to separate what they say from what they believe. Opening public meetings with prayer is a cherished freedom that the authors of the Constitution themselves practiced”.

Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State declared the Supreme Court’s ruling was “out of step with the realities of modern-day America”. Boston’s group represented the plaintiffs and noted that “we haven’t seen the last of this issue”.

Boston noted, “The majority opinion makes it clear that legislative prayer often isn’t coercive because the adults being exposed to it have options, such as leaving the room”.

Using commons sense or respect would seem to go a lot further in resolving these issues. Nobody is forced to participate, and as pointed out by those wanting prayer in the town of Greece, non-religious sectarian prayers were also offered at the opening of the meetings in Greece.

The pendulum has swung against those wanting to exercise their right for free expression of religion by those not wanting to be subjected to it. The problem was not only did those with no religious views not want to participate, but they did not want anyone else displaying their faith.

Religious freedoms have been attacked also from the judicial bench as judges have ordered town counsels not to invoke religious expression while the Supreme Court litigated the Town of Greece vs. Galloway.

The tide may be turning in the battle to sustain religious freedom, an important issue that has many religious organizations concerned. There are still huge rulings on the horizon for the Supreme Court to adjudicate regarding the First Amendment and the constitutionality of Obamacare.

Religious freedom is a core US Constitutional value and attempts to water down any expression should be swatted down by the Supreme Court’s interpretation.

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