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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

A Humble Petition for Public Prayer in Light of Today’s Supreme Court Ruling

I humbly propose that the following invocation be given whenever a public meeting in the City of New York (and anywhere else that seeks to adopt it) is convened:

May Hashem’s wisdom guide us and may His laws guide us.  May we take on more mitzvot [commandments] and may we therefore merit the coming of Moshiach, bim’hera v’yameinu.  Amen.

After all, if this prayer:

Lord, God of all creation, we give you thanks and praise for your presence and action in the world. We look with anticipation to the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. It is in the solemn events of next week that we find the very heart and center of our Chris­ tian faith. We acknowledge the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We draw strength, vitality, and confidence from his resurrection at Easter. . . . We pray for peace in the world, an end to terrorism, violence, conflict, and war. We pray for stability, de­ mocracy, and good government in those countries in which our armed forces are now serving, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . . Praise and glory be yours, O Lord, now and forever more. Amen.

meets constitutional scrutiny for public governmental meetings, then the prayer I so humbly propose should meet that scrutiny as well.

Of course, I somehow doubt that the five justices that effectively declared today it was okay to effectively establish Christianity as the religion of state simply because the majority of Americans practice it would find a prayer so overtly Jewish acceptable.  Similarly, a prayer overtly Muslim or of any other religion would also not meet their scrutiny.  And those that scream loudest in favor of the prayer offered by clerics at the public meetings of the Town of Greece, New York, would scream for the separation of religion and state the moment a sectarian non-Christian prayer was offered.

Oh, and one more thing.  Justice Thomas reiterated his belief today that the Establishment Clause protects state establishments of religion and merely prohibits the federal government from establishing a national religion.  I would love to see a state establish a non-Christian religion as its state religion and then see if Justice Thomas possesses the courage of his convictions or if those beliefs only apply when a state adopts some form of Christianity as its state religion.


  1. Mets102

    because I know the right would freak out and suddenly embrace the separation of religion and state.

  2. The part of the opinion that bothered me most was Kennedy’s assertion that “many Americans” feel that there is a higher being and that makes invoking such a being in a legislative setting just fine. Since when does the majority opinion trump the constitution? “Many Americans” also favor commonsense gun safety regulations and a woman’s right to choose. But this SCOTUS … and Anthony Kennedy in particular, will have none of that.

    I hope that people from non-majority religions and belief systems show up to lead those assembled in their prayers. And when they are denied that “right”, let’s see how the court rules on what I would hope is another lawsuit.  I suspect that they will twist themselves into pretzels to try to find some way for the majority religion to exclude those who are not of their faith. Because it is not about invoking a higher being or belief … it is about protecting the state religion: Christianity.

  3. I think it is a big sloppy kiss to this guy … and those who believe the same way he does:

    In comments earlier this year only now coming to light, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court asserted that the First Amendment only applies to Christianity since neither Buddha nor Mohammed created man.

    “Everybody, to include the United States Supreme Court, has been deceived as to one little word in the First Amendment called religion. They can’t define it,” chief justice Roy Moore said in January, according to video published Friday by Raw Story.

    “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammed didn’t create us, it was the God of the Holy Scriptures. They didn’t bring the Koran over on the pilgrim ship,” he continued.

    It is ironic that a country built by folks who escaped religious intolerance has built a new state religion. There is one religion recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States. And as Dahlia Lithwick said “Get ready for a lot more Jesus in your life”.  

  4. Rashaverak

    make the Baby Jesus cry.

    Hopefully, this horrible decision will be overturned soon after President Obama or President Clinton replaces one of the above.

  5. I think the biggest problem is that, like most right-wingers, they have no ability to empathize. They can’t put themselves in the shoes of minorities because they have grown up steeped in white male privilege (including Clarence Thomas). They can’t conceive of a society that is not post-racial because they have never suffered from discrimination. They were not excluded from colleges or had their citizenship challenged when they went to vote. They certainly can’t feel what it would be like to be pregnant and unable to afford a child and choosing to terminate the pregnancy rather than putting her entire family into poverty.

    And they certainly can’t imagine the feelings of someone who is not of the majority religion feeling excluded from government by prayers being a part of governmental procedures.

    Justice Elena Kagan:

    “… the error reflects two kinds of blindness,” Kagan wrote. “First, the majority misapprehends the facts of this case, as distinct from those characterizing traditional legislative prayer. And second, the majority misjudges the essential meaning of the religious worship in Greece’s town hall, along with its capacity to exclude and divide.

    Justice Kagan pointed out “several problematic situations that could comply with the Court’s reasoning, such as a judge ordering a courtroom to rise before a Christian prayer and a local polling place requiring entrants to join an official in a Christian prayer” which led to some nasty comments from Justice Samuel “Duh” Alito.

    Another example of why “keeping our powder dry” and not filibustering the Alito nomination was a bad idea. His elevation to the Supreme Court, a position he was not even remotely qualified for, will continue to remind us that elections will only have consequences if you use the power the people gave you to create the kind of judiciary they deserve.

  6. anotherdemocrat

    I’m pretty sure all you have to do is sign up. But it’s not a problem to be a pagan here, or Muslim, and certainly not Jewish or even liberal Christian (you know — Christian prayers where every 2nd word isn’t “Father”)

    I can’t wait till some brave Wiccan tries a public prayer in Alabama.

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