once again, the Supreme Court is taking on the issue of public prayer. this time it's specific to local council meetings, but the ramifications could go well beyond that. however, if you read this piece, i'd be surprised if you come to any other conclusion that the whole issue is a unmitigated mess. frankly, i can't tell based on the various arguments which side which Justice is on. each argument sounded sillier than the last.
the fact is, the easiest, and perhaps only solution, is to eliminate the practice of prayer at public meetings altogether. trying to tweak the rules or come up with a one size fits all guideline is both impractical and impossible. there is simply no way to codify everyone, so the only thing to do is to keep religion - all religions - out of this environment. that's it. full stop.
will that happen? of course not. too many people just need to inject God or Jesus into every situation. that they can't keep it to themselves and pray silently doesn't occur to them. that they are gathering in a secular setting to do the people's work is secondary to the need to remind everyone of how pious they are. that is, of course, before they start grifting, lying, and doing everything they can to stay in power.
yet i'm hoping for a miracle. maybe after tossing around so many silly ideas they'll come to their senses and recognize the folly of the whole debate. then we'll be one step closer to a truly secular government.
With respect, and only intent to be helpful - this might get more readers if you change your title to something like "Does prayer have a prayer of a chance in Supreme court - Greece v. Galloway" because most people don't know Greece NY from Greece, Greece. Of course it's your topic, so you have the right to call it whatever works for you... :-)
Anyway, This editorial, "It's not really about prayer" was an interesting response. "
The answer to the public religion debate is pretty simple. If someone comes up and says, 'hey, could we say my prayer today,' or 'hey, I'm an atheist, could we maybe just have a minute of silence or no prayer today' - just do it!
And if someone says, 'hey, could you not send the threatening letters just because I didn't stand up for your prayer' - a reasonable person would stop sending the threatening letters on account of it's 2013, not 1692."
I think it's not about "public" religion, but about government sanctioned religion, about whether people should be forced to participate in religion in order to participate in government.
In another article, I see Scalia isn't surprising anyone. When is that Neanderthal going to retire?
SB, i hope you don't mind, but i took your advice quite literally and used your suggested title. in the wake of the Rand Paul plagiarism scandal i don't want to avoid giving proper credit. if it's a problem let me know. but i liked your title.
No problem at all Matthew - I feel honored!
My concern was the title might not have attracted readers who would be interested in this important topic. Thank you for posting it!
i completely appreciate the advice. and it was good advice. i usually put some thought into the title but really didn't here. yours was way way better.
re: Scalia - i was just wondering myself whether or not the American people can somehow unseat a lifelong appointed judge if they deem him not of sound mind and body. if he wasn't before he clearly is now insane. the man believes in the literal devil. like walking on earth as a man devil. unless he has personal knowledge of the subject, and one could be forgiven for giving that theory some merit, he's as delusional as your typical Pentacotal tongue speaker.
Thanks for those articles! Justice Elana Kagan's summation deserves to be repeated: (emphases added)
Here's what our—our country promises, our Constitution promises. It's that, however we worship, we're all equal and full citizens. And I think we can all agree on that.
And that means that when we approach the government, when we petition the government, we do so not as a Christian, not as a Jew, not as a Muslim, not as a nonbeliever, only as an American. And what troubles me about this case is that here a citizen is going to a local community board, supposed to be the closest, the most responsive institution of government that exists, and is immediately being asked, being forced to identify whether she believes in the things that most of the people in the room believe in, whether she belongs to the same religious team as most of the people in the room do.
And it strikes me that that might be inconsistent with this understanding that when we relate to our government, we all do so as Americans, and not as Jews and not as Christians and not as nonbelievers.
I think the govt. needs to stay of that. it is each persons choice of whether they believe in prayer or not. whether they believe in god or not. free will.free choice.
hahahahahahahaha!!! now that would be a miracle.
That would do it!
I agree with Daniel. It's not really about prayer, it's about public religion. With that idea in mind prayer should not be allowed in the Supreme Court or any government sanctioned meeting. Politicos continue to allow this nonsense because doing so gets them votes and that gets them elected. With this in mind so many of todays "faithful" seem so distressed when prayer is not allowed, and they also think it should be in schools and at sporting events. This seems to give re-enforcement to their stupid beliefs that America is "a christian nation." For those that would argue this, just take the song "America The Beautiful" that we all used to sing many years ago. Get to the line where "god shed his grace on thee." That sums it all up for most fundies, but we are no more special than any other nation.
And what is prayer? "Before we continue here today, gentlemen, we will all bow our heads and close our eyes, then start talking to ourselves."
Thank Dog we have organizations like Freedom From Religion Foundation (to which I'm a lifetime member). With lawyers doing the "threatening", many schools and community meetings (political) have bowed down to the pressure of potential litigation. But FFRF responds to individuals (like the two ladies in the Supreme Court case) that speak up and out. For years, we atheists have gritted our teeth, kept silent, and moved on when forced to listen to "opening prayers" at public events. Finally, this thorny issue is "out there". As an aside, I can't help but be mystified at the inane comments/questions asked by Supreme Court members. It's like they are totally ignorant of the situation. I am not at all optimistic about their decision (5 to 4 to uphold public prayer).