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I thought I remembered a Kossack who was part of this lawsuit?

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has determined that if a gov't body makes a "good faith effort" at "inclusion", opening prayers are allowed even if they have a Christian (or I suppose other specific faith) slant.

h/t HuffPo

Washinton Post

From the decision

Respondents’ insistence on nonsectarian prayer is not consistent with this tradition. The prayers in Marsh were consistent with the First Amendment not because they espoused only a generic theism but because the Nation’s history and tradition have shown that prayer in this limited context could “coexis[t] with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” 463 U. S., at 786. Di
Both opinions can be found here.

Kagan, dissenting

But just for that reason, the not-so-implicit message of
the majority’s opinion—“What’s the big deal, anyway?”—is
mistaken. The content of Greece’s prayers is a big deal, to Christians and non-Christians alike. A person’s response to the doctrine, language, and imagery contained in those invocations reveals a core aspect of identity—who that
person is and how she faces the world. And the responses of different individuals, in Greece and across this country, of course vary. Contrary to the majority’s apparent view, such sectarian prayers are not “part of our expressive idiom” or “part of our heritage and tradition,” assuming the word “our” refers to all Americans. Ante, at 19. They express beliefs that are fundamental to some, foreign to others—and because that is so they carry the ever-present potential to both exclude and divide. The majority, I think, assesses too lightly the significance of these reli­gious differences, and so fears too little the “religiously based divisiveness that the Establishment Clause seeks to avoid.” Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U. S. 677, 704 (2005) (BREYER, J., concurring in judgment).

I would treat more seriously the multiplicity of Americans’ religious commit­ments, along with the challenge they can pose to the project—the distinctively American project—of creating one from the many, and governing all as united.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just don't try offering any prayers (5+ / 0-)

    that aren't Christian. That's unconstitutional.

    •  i don't think that's what they said... (5+ / 0-)

      is it?

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

      by terrypinder on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:52:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need a government agency... (4+ / 0-)

        ...like the FDA that impartially evaluates the truth claims of various religious products, and certifies them (or not) according to the test results.  

        It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

        by Rich in PA on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:04:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  De facto (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness, terrypinder

        This will protect Christian prayers only.  However, by definition there is no such thing as nonsectarian prayer since only theistic traditions include prayer

        •  I respectfully disagree (0+ / 0-)

          As long as there are pop quizzes at schools, there will always be prayers in the classroom!

        •  "nonsectarian" means not limited (0+ / 0-)

          to a specific religious denomination.  If you have both a rabbi and a Catholic priest offer prayers, that is nonsectarian.  

        •  This turns out not to be the case (0+ / 0-)

          Buddhism is non-theistic, in the sense that we don't care how many Gods you may believe in, nor how many such beings there may turn out to be, if any. They have nothing to do with Buddhist training and enlightenment, which has to do with finding the cure for one's personal suffering, and extending that to all sentient beings.

          Nevertheless, we have many prayers. Here are just two. First is the Three Refuges, which we believe to the the oldest that we have. It exists in Pali, the oldest language of Buddhist scriptures.

          I go to the Buddha for refuge.

          I go to the Teaching for refuge.

          I go to the Community for refuge.

          Next the Soto Zen monastic mealtime prayer, which was composed after Buddhism became primarily monastic, and monks did not spend most of the year wandering and begging for their food every day.
          We must think deeply of the ways and means by which this food has come.

          We must consider our merit when accepting it.

          We must protect ourselves from error by excluding greed from our minds.

          We will eat lest we become lean and die.

          We accept this food so that we may become enlightened.

          Daoism is also non-theistic.
          The One is the mother of the ten thousand things. The Dao is the mother of the One.
          I do not know what form Daoist prayer takes in any detail, but I know it exists in profusion.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:42:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The SC didn't say you could only have Christian (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness

        prayers. I am hypothesizing a case presented to the SC where Muslims (for example) insisted there be a Muslim prayer before every meeting and the plaintiffs were Christians who wanted it stopped. This case would probably have been decided way before it reached the SC but let's pretend it made it that far. I think the five conservative justices would have switched their votes in a heartbeat when presented with the exact same legal question but pertaining to a non-Christian religion.

        Scalia recently cited a case in his opinion that was the exact opposite of his finding. When discovered, he merely changed the citation. It didn't change his opinion one iota. That's demagoguery, not justice.

  •  I’m pretty sure that the case that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thelittlepecan

    you’re remembering was a different and more recent one.

    For links to the Huffington Post and the Washington Post see this diary and this one also covering this decision.

  •  I Don't See How They Can Deny the Return to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness

    institution-led school prayer, unless they want to find that kids below the age of consent can be improperly influenced.

    And how could this dominionist majority find that Christianity is an improper government influence on kids?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 05, 2014 at 07:55:21 AM PDT

    •  That is the main thing, I believe. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      misslegalbeagle

      Children are too powerless, followed by adults in coercive and hierarchical situations (for instance, jails), followed by adults in situations of nominal equality.  Government meetings fall into that last category, on the empirically suspect but structurally necessary view that citizens are fully the equals of government officials (you know, they're supposed to be our servants and all that), so the standard there is pretty relaxed.  Personally I don't have a big problem with it.  

      It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

      by Rich in PA on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:03:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure, we can have prayer in the schools (0+ / 0-)

      and along with bits of the Protestant King James Authorized Version, Catholics can request equal time for their Latin Credo, and Jews their Hebrew Sh'ma, and Muslims their Arabic La-illaha, and Mormons their miraculous translations from ancient Egyptian, and Buddhists and Hindus and neo-Pagans and Wiccans and all the rest.

      Oh, and atheists can request this: the complete atheist hymnal, Atheists Don't Have No Songs.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:56:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another political... (3+ / 0-)

    decision by the Supreme Court. At this point, the agenda/ideology of the conservatives on the court is transparent.

  •  Very disheartening (5+ / 0-)

    I don't care if people pray, I really don't.  But I'm atheist and it's difficult for me to see why tradition would be the foundation for upholding this.  

    Tradition is so often just an excuse to continue to oppress others.

  •  on its face I have no issue with cultural (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thelittlepecan, a2nite

    religious invocation--

    What bothers me is that in this environment it can become an active tool to discriminate rather than a passive cultural norm.  I am very much against movements by people like Newdow, and that girl up in Rhode Island, to remove as much religious iconography as possible from the public sphere (this seems to be the secular humanist response to the strengthening of the religious Far Right.

    At the same time, while the practice in this example of Greece, NY may be tame (and I dno't know this for a fact) I can very easily see a town in West Virginia or Alabama taking this to extreme levels to marginalize anyone who is, as they see it, "un-Christian".  In the sense that their decision on the Voting Rights Act opens similar doors.

    That said, I haven't read the case so I don't know how I would rule were I on the Court.

    •  The problem with non-sectarian prayers (3+ / 0-)

      is that they begin to lose all meaning (which is what the country saw when Catholic prejudice from Protestant students gave way to an attempt at non-sectarian religious instruction in schools.)  I can understand not wanting this.

      For me, that leaves two choices:  making a "good faith" (whatever that means) effort at having as many different types of sectarian prayers or affirmations as possible, with some type of regulation to encourage diversity and promote that option...

      or

      no prayers/affirmations at all.

      I'm for either of these.  But, I live in GA where my son's kindergarten teacher told him "God is real and Jesus is his son". Down here, I generally think the no prayer option is probably the only way to prevent tyranny of the majority on the rest of us for the foreseeable future.

      •  i see your points--although I also think that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle

        an S.C. ruling that makes local town hall prayers illegal would been seen (with some justification) as effectively an urban power play on rural America.  (simplistic perspective but with some merit)

        Ultimately my point of view is this:  I'm strongly opposed to new impositions of religion.  New 10 commandments sculptues, new school prayers, new Chrisitan town-hall invocations.  However, I am in favor of a let-it-be approach to situations where such things already exist--provided that they do follow your example #1 to become more inclusive.

        I think that a court ruling that all town halls that have been opening with prayer for the last 150 years now have to cease-and-desist would be highly problematic and exacerbate--not improve--the cultural divide.

        •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          misslegalbeagle, Namazga III

          that this would be seen as an attack on a certain geographic.

          (Though, lots of decisions seem to be a downright open attack on certain demographics!)

          I also agree that a flat out cease-and-desist would be very problematic.

          In this particular case, it appears that the Christian bias actually got worse after the lawsuit was filed (?) so there is a case to be made here for bullying of some kind.

          I think the first option is clearly better, but it's only going to be as good as those efforts put forth by the deciding parties.

  •  Let's see what these SOBs praising the ruling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, Mokurai

    think when the Dearborn city council opens their sessions with Muslim prayers, or when the local community board for NYC's Chinatown offers Buddhist/Confucian/Taoist prayer, etc.

    "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

    by TLS66 on Mon May 05, 2014 at 08:49:15 AM PDT

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