In what should have been a 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled today (5-4) that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity.
The AP reported:
Prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity, a divided Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or proselytize.
The ruling by the court’s conservative majority was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester. The Obama administration sided with the town.
In 1983, the court upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature and said that prayer is part of the nation’s fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment. Monday’s ruling was consistent with the earlier one.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions.
“The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers,” Kennedy said.
Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court’s four liberal justices, said, “I respectfully dissent from the Court’s opinion because I think the Town of Greece’s prayer practices violate that norm of religious equality — the breathtakingly generous constitutional idea that our public institutions belong no less to the Buddhist or Hindu than to the Methodist or Episcopalian.”
According to Alliance Defending Freedom—
Preserves the public prayer tradition that began with our founding.
Protects the freedom of community volunteers to pray according to their faith in a public setting, without censorship
Defends the prayer giver’s freedom of speech over an “offended” person’s demands for censorship
Of course, the godless left and the ACLU were outraged:
— ACLU National (@ACLU) May 5, 2014