Monday, May 5, 2014

Government instructions on how to pray

The Supreme court, in a divided 5-4 decision, today upheld the practice of public prayer before town board meetingsrejecting the notion that overwhelmingly Christian invocations violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. There is a lot that I could say about this ruling, and I probably will. However, for the time being, I found it very interesting that Justice Anthony Kennedy, in his majority opinion, gave some Supreme Court guidelines  for appropriate and inappropriate prayers for opening government meetings.

According to Justice Kennedy, prayer that is "solemn and respectful in tone, that invites lawmakers to reflect upon shared ideals and common ends" is okay.  (I suppose in future court cases we might look for the high court to become arbiters of what constitutes "solemn and respectful tone.") On the other hand, prayers that do things like "preach conversion" are not okay. 

That's one thing about government sanctioned prayer. In the end the government starts telling you what to pray and how to pray it. 

2 comments:

Dwayne Jones said...

Didn't you preach a sermon on how religious leaders historically have wanted to keep christianity out of government? Sounds like more ammunition.

Dwayne Jones said...

Didn't you preach a sermon on how religious leaders historically have wanted to keep christianity out of government? Sounds like more ammunition.