Comments about ‘Supreme Court ruling favors prayer at council meeting’

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Published: Monday, May 5 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Eliot
Genola, UT

Three cheers for the Supreme Court!

mhenshaw
Leesburg, VA

>>"The justice said Monday there are differences between the two situations, including ...the fact that attendees at the council meeting may step out of the room if they do not like the prayer."

I.e. "If you don't like it, walk out of the room for sixty seconds. Just because you don't like what people are saying doesn't mean you can stop them from saying it." That's possibly the most commonsense thing I've seen come out of the courts in a long time.

Flashback
Kearns, UT

About time. It appears that the oft maligned and mis-interpreted "Establishment Clause" is finally being interpreted with a little common sense. Too bad they won't take the case on the Highway Patrol crosses. We still have a long way to go.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Good ruling, though in public meetings efforts should be made to be inclusive, to pick people to pray from a variety of faiths.

In education especially we have lost a lot of wisdom. Cirriculum has been dumbed down in my lifetime. I've noticed this in math. I have benefited from prayer. I believe if those who make public policy will pray for wisdom, they will receive it, and our seemingly endless efforts to improve education can finally bear fruit.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

The Court got it right.

I just wish the Court hadn't taken prayer out of schools. We can easily see what has happened to schools since that time.

Mikhail
ALPINE, UT

Justice Kennedy appears to be of two minds. He states that government should not be involved in evaluating the content of prayer because it could lead to legislatures requiring "chaplains to redact the religious content from their message in order to make it acceptable for the public sphere." In 1992 he rules that prayers at a high school commencement are unconstitutional because of the age of the participants. In other words, it is okay to have prayers in public meetings, but not at another kind of public meeting, and the government must determine what is in violation of the establishment clause. This should have been a 9-0 ruling, just as the 1992 case should have been. Public prayer in public places is not a violation of the establishment clause - although it could be considered a violation of the legally fictitious dogma of "separation of church and state."

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions."

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile.

And, Kennedy's opinion illustrates his visual acuity is still severely impaired by its repeated assertion that public prayers are inoffensive because they're "ceremonial." Many are, no doubt, but to make that a pillar upon which his opinion rests will likely encourage secularists to argue the Supreme Court has set up some new "ceremoniality" requirement. That would gut both the Establishment and the Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

Iconoclastic atheists will soon be listening closely to public prayers, examining them for any actual, heartfelt content. Then, they'll sue both the city and the cleric for any language violative of the new "ceremoniality" requirement they've now discovered in the penumbra of the First Amendment.

It's a common, well-worn liberal trick.

The tradition the Court should be protecting is reverent deference to, and non-intervention in religious belief and observance, notwithstanding some thin-skinned, litigious liberal or atheist may brand such public decency noxious.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

Another 5 to 4 decision...

But in 1992...

"...Kennedy himself was the author an opinion in 1992 that held that a Christian prayer delivered at a high school graduation did violate the Constitution. The justice said Monday there are differences between the two situations, including the age of the audience and the fact that attendees at the council meeting may step out of the room if they do not like the prayer...".

Differences?

or

Hair splitting?

No then...Yes now?

Activist Judge?

Depends on whose ox is being gored?

Exactly.

Mr.Glass
Salt Lake City, UT

So much for the separation of church and state.

But since this is what Christians wanted, let's make sure we have humanist atheist chaplains offer invocations, and let's make sure Satanists offer a few invocations. Let's remind Christians why we need a wall of separation between church and state.

Jeremy234
SLC, UT

Wow, lame. Really, really lame.

Mormon Ute
Kaysville, UT

Score one for religious freedom! We need more of this.

gmlewis
Houston, TX

During the Millenium, our Savior will be crowned King of Kings of all the earth. I wonder if He will find it necessary to establish a wall between church and state? During that glorious reign, when we file a petition to our King, won't that be considered a prayer?

mhenshaw
Leesburg, VA

>>Differences? or Hair splitting? No then...Yes now?

Maybe his view on the subject "evolved."

>>...let's make sure we have humanist atheist chaplains offer invocations, and let's make sure Satanists offer a few invocations. Let's remind Christians why we need a wall of separation between church and state.

First, if there's an atheist humanist chaplain or a Satanist on the council, sure, why not? Such a person on the council would show that there are enough people in the community comfortable with those beliefs--assuming the councilperson fairly represented him/herself during the election--to justify that viewpoint having such expression in the meetings. And if they didn't fairly represent themselves during the election, offering such a prayer would be an eye-opening experience for their constituents.

I'm not sure to whom an atheist humanist chaplain would pray, but the event would be enlightening.

Second, abolishing all mention of God and religion from government isn't a "wall of separation" between church and state; it's de facto atheism enforced upon all participants in government.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

This is not a win for religious freedom but rather a win for Christian oppression. As a Christian myself, I am free to pray at any point during the day - there has never been a limitation on my own individual ability to pray. Further, if a prayer must occur, the act should not take place in a government building with the justification that "those who don't like it can leave." Rather, if you want to have a prayer then you should leave the building, have our prayer outside among those who willingly want to participate, and then you can return to the building once finished. The onus should not be on the ones who do not participate to leave, that should be on the individuals who want to pray.

Finally, to distill this 5-4 decision down it appears that the majority's justification is "tradition" which is historically the weakest justification used for nearly all oppressive acts in our Nation: Slavery? Tradition. Oppression of women? Tradition. Denial of marriage equality? Tradition. Etc... etc.... Time and time again, "tradition" is proven to be code for bigotry and oppression. This ruling will hopefully be overturned in the near future.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

Judge Roy Moore must be so proud. If you don't know who he is, Google him.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Prayer is free speech. Free speech is a Constitution right.

End of discussion.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

The Court had the difficult task of balancing Constitutional Rights. On a topic like this there is no perfect way to do that, but I think it was a reasonable ruling.

Yorkshire
City, Ut

Re: "Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions."

Now if we could only get Kennedy (and other judges) to keep 'marriag'e as that between a man and a woman-- because to do so is just as "ceremonial" as prayer is.

DEC
Saratoga Springs, UT

The debate over prayer as part of public activities, pledges or on money might be solved if we defined God for LEGAL PURPOSES as "the force that caused the universe to exist". Even agnostics have to admit the universe came to be -- albeit random organization. While the details of who or what our personal God is may differ, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other groups agree the universe was created by a higher power. If we defined the word "God" as that force, the arguments over different beliefs would go away. I can trust in my God, you can trust in yours. The point is to pledge or seek a force greater than ourselves to give prospective and weight to things of importance.

Removing the notion of a higher power from public discourse so people won't be offended by your interpretation of God is the ultimate in bigotry.

Esquire
Springville, UT

Religious freedom? Just for Christians, it seems.

I'm a religious guy. But frankly, I am tired of religion being used for political purposes. I would vote for no more prayers in government functions.

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