Comments about ‘Supporters of prayer at government meetings file briefs with Supreme Court’

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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 6 2013 7:20 p.m. MDT

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Inwood, NY

Before filing suits about prayer at public meetings -- an attack on the separation of Church and State -- lawmakers should first present evidence that God exists. Since they can't (other than by quoting the Bible), lawmakers are basically saying they are in favor of religious prayer to a deity whose existence has not yet been established in a court of law. If that were to happen, anyone who believes in the tooth fairy or the cookie monster could set up public prayer ceremonies in court houses and government builds of all kinds throughout the country. And we wouldn't want that to happen, do we?

Bountiful, UT

Through prayer God can be asked for wisdom. heaven knows we need it given all the mismanagement and sub optimal management going on in our country.

Since prayer was taken out of school education has gone downhill coincidence? I suspect not.

Rural Hall, USA, NC

"One nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All"

Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA

It would please me to see prayer prohibited at all government related business. People in this country already enjoy the immense freedom to worship what ever religion they choose on their own time. Prayer has no place in government business IMVHO.

Auckland NZ, 00

Prayer doesn't need to be performed publicly, and government doesn't need to promote the idea that magic beings who stand outside the laws of nature make things happen on behalf of their favourites that wouldn't otherwise happen. And given that Robert Bellah just died, it's a shame that lawyer Michael Whitehead felt the need to take a gratuitous swipe at the man and his idea of 'civil religion'. It's humorous that he did so in a way that exposed his poor understanding of the term.

Inwood, NY

Before you start calling the United States a "Christian nation," ask the 5.3 million American Jews, the 2.2 million American Buddhists, the 1.9 million American Muslims, and the 5 million American atheists, agnostics and those unaffiliated with any church what they think about that.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT


As the pledge was originally written in 1892:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The "Under God" was added in 1952 - sixty years after the pledge was written.

Riverton, UT

"The Bill of Rights

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I don't see anywhere in there where it specifies any location that needs to be exempt from this freedom of (not freedom from - read it, I have supplied it for you) religion. Please explain your comments that there should be places exempt from this freedom and why the Constitution has not been amended to say that.

Ya'll must be smarter than the founders, enlighten me please...

A Scientist
Provo, UT

As religious zealots continue to push their hegemony, true lovers of Democracy and freedom will continue to push back. One victory at a time, we will eventually help to fulfill the promise of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to remove the establishment of religion from government.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT


I'm guessing that you know more than the Supreme Court, who, in 1962 ruled on prayer in school. The case was Engel v. Vitale. The decision was 6-1 - even conservative justices ruled in favor of the plaintiff (Jewish families in New York). The same type of rulings were applied in Wallace vs. Jaffree (1985), Lee vs. Weisman (1992), and Santa Fe ISD vs. Doe (2000).

Please look those rulings up, I've provided the cases and years. Like I said, maybe you know more than the Supreme Court justices.

I don't see how public meetings are any different than schools.

South Jordan, Utah

I think the Bible tells us to pray over everything but to do it in secret, in our closets etc.


So many forget the part of the First Amendment that reads "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". In their zeal make sure religion and any religious thought is prohibited in anything related to government atheists trample the rights of American citizens.
We, as Americans, are free to practice or not practice religion as we see fit. Locations are not specified nor are any specifics about how or what religion is performed. It doesn't say "except while performing government duties"

Brigham City, UT

Re: "So many forget the part of the First Amendment that reads 'or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'"

And so many forget - or ignore - Jesus's instructions on how to pray: "Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret."

clearfield, UT

So these two people felt "excluded" because they weren't Christian. Tell me how all of us at times don't feel excluded by government? I don't recall any part of the constitution that guarantees the right to be included. Just the right to have a voice and a vote, then if things don't go your way, you get a representative that probably excludes your feelings for his or her entire term.
You think many of us didn't feel excluded when Obama and the Democrats pushed Obamacare through?

Riverton, UT

@CHS 85

So then to follow your way of thinking, you then have the right to put words in the mouths of the Supreme Court Justices (who are very careful with their words) and say that public meetings are the same as school meetings.

Your law degree is from where?

American Fork, UT

If you're not willing to accept freedom from as a component of freedom of, you then have to be prepared to give freedom of to your worst enemy. Worse yet, to me. Let's just say that if I cannot escape religion, then my religion shall be a lot more fun than yours, with cheaper beer. I love a level playing field, bring it on.

Riverton, UT


As long as your religion does not "step" on the toes of others, worship "how, where, or what you may."

What do you mean "bring it on." The founding fathers brought it on and gave freedom of religion to all, even you. Have a great time worshiping "what you may."

Auckland NZ, 00

WRK: I don't see anywhere in there where it specifies any location that needs to be exempt from this freedom of (not freedom from - read it, I have supplied it for you) religion.

The common understanding, and the legal interpretation, of religious freedom is not the same now as it was 200+ years ago. Nothing is understood now the way it was then. Religious freedom is widely recognised, and judicially confirmed, to include the exclusion of religious bias, preference, or identity from state spaces. This applies in parts of the country where 99.9% of the populace adheres to cognate beliefs as well as parts of the country where religious pluralism is pronounced.

With respect to your characterisation of 'science' as a religion, you misconstrue the claims that the scientific world view makes. Science is a methodology of experimentation and comparison. It is not a fixed belief system. Indeed, the sciences continually and consistently change. Conclusions of the past, based on a subset of the data that we possess now, are regularly rejected. Religions, particularly in the sense of ecclesiastical institutions like the Corporation of the LDS First Presidency, don't exhibit this type of self correction. Rather the opposite.

Centerville, UT

Atheists have demanded the establishment of Atheist chaplains in the U.S. Military, thus establishing Atheism as a recognized religion. In 1962, a supreme court judge recognized that atheism was a religion. Thus any act by the government responding to an atheist to demand the end of religious acts by those believing in a god, is government violating the establishment clause of the constitution.

Scientist is actually saying, we will eventually help to remove (deists) acts and establish atheism as the state religion of government, in violation of the constitution. Not really an act of a true lover of Democracy and freedom. But an act of repression by a minority. Remember Democracy, means everyone has a vote, which means the majority selects policies for the whole. Why do people think that if they have an idea, Democracy will allow their minority to set policies. In our country we have a method that is not democratic for preventing repression of minorities, it is called the Supreme Court. Democracy is overruled. Example, Prop 8. Democracy created it, the court voided the democratic election.

Pleasant Grove, UT

Opening public meetings with prayers that fit the requirements of one religion or another is replete with issues. For instance, the prayers of one religion may be offensive to members of a different religion. A church may believe that women should not pray in public, or that prayers must be done "in Jesus name" and that other formats are a mockery. Suppose a Wiccan, Satanist or Muslim wants to open with prayer? Will those Christians in attendance find that acceptable? All of these things make some other members of the public feel excluded or sidelined. Of course one could offer a generic "to Whom it may concern" sort of prayer, but that meets the needs of no one and makes the prayer an official formality; something that is clearly prohibited by the Constitution. The best thing is for people to do as the Christian Bible says and offer their prayers in private rather than making them a public show.

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