Monday, May 5, 2014

Prayers get a new blessing : SCOTUSblog

Justice Kennedy announces opinion of the Court (Art Lien)
Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing the opinion
 of the court in Galloway v. Town of Greece
Art Lien - scotus blog
Personally, I am generally embarrassed by ritual prayers opening non-religious gatherings.  But we'll be hearing a lot more of it now that the Supreme Court (5-4) has allowed towns to hire chaplains! for the purpose. - GWC
Opinion analysis: Prayers get a new blessing : SCOTUSblog
by Lyle Denniston
"Stopping just short of abandoning a historic barrier to religion in government activity, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled on Monday that local governments may open their meetings with prayers that are explicitly religious and may turn out to be largely confined to expressing the beliefs of one faith. Narrowly defining what is not allowed in such prayers, the Court said they may not be used to praise the virtues of one faith and may not cast other faiths or other believers in a sharply negative light.  Courts have no role in judging whether individual prayers satisfy that test, but can only examine a “pattern of prayer” to see whether it crossed the forbidden constitutional line and became a form of “coercion.” The majority clearly moved the “coercion” test to the forefront of analyzing when government and religion are too closely intertwined.  The alternative test — whether government action “endorsed” a particular faith — was nearly cast aside as taking too little account of the role of religion in America’s history and civic traditions."

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