Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Faith Blog..the Supreme Court and prayer

I was surprised to read THIS and hope you chime in.

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that legislative bodies such as city councils can begin their meetings with prayer, even if it plainly favors a specific religion.

Christian prayers said before meetings of an Upstate New York town council did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion; the justices cited history and tradition.
    The court ruled 5 to 4 that
“Ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that, since this Nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond the authority of government,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court’s conservative majority.
The ruling reflected a Supreme Court that has become more lenient on how government may accommodate religion in civic life without crossing the line into an endorsement of a particular faith.

All nine justices endorsed the concept of legislative prayer, with the four dissenters agreeing that the public forum “need not become a religion-free zone,” in the words of Justice Elena Kagan.
But there was sharp disagreement after that, and the majority ruling could encourage public bodies to give more leeway to religious expression in their ceremonial prayers and less deference to the objections of religious minorities."   There is more in my link above.

What do you think?  Surprised?   I am.

Also, I believe with all my heart that our country was founded by God and that he honors a country which honors His Son in the public arena.  But, I question the decision to favor a 'specific religion' in public places.

Please help me decide one way or the other.  I'd really like to hear both sides of this coin.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..."  Hebrews 12

God bless you this beautiful Sunday!



viburnum said...

Happy Mother's Day Z, et al (you know who you are! ;-) )

I don't have any problem with the decision though I imagine that it seriously annoys those who would ban any expression of religious faith from the public sphere entirely.

sue hanes said...

Z - I'm for prayer before meetings but like you said - just prayers to God and not for specific religions.

Ed Bonderenka said...

In the context of the Founders thinking, their idea of religion was church structure, hierarchy and doctrine.
They assumed a judeo-christian faith.
They did not envision a populace that would embrace anti-christian ideology.
And the states (local goverment) were free to have a religion, as exhibited by various state constitutions.
What the Founders envisioned has long become passe.

Liberalmann said...

No...our country was founded on freedom. And to allow this is a very slippery slope to go down. I don't want government in my religion nor do I want religion in my government.

This SCOTUS is grossly out of touch.

Liberalmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam Huntington said...

This debate confuses me. I do not want to see the state enforcing one set of religious values over any other ... but I do not see the problem with public prayer in the way the court addressed it. As we observe the process, no one is asking us to pray, no one is asking us to stand, or kneel, or recite. If I am an atheist, I sit quietly and allow those who believe in God to murmur an “amen” to themselves if they want to. I think we call this tolerance. Let us try to remember that our foundational law states that government may not impose religion upon us, neither may they keep us away from it. Sadly, most leftists do not have the brains to figure this out —hence, the controversy over nothing.

Jack Whyte said...

This “liberal man’s” understanding about almost everything is appallingly deficient. He wrote, “No...our country was founded on freedom.” Deep, man ... really deep. Except the freedom to worship God as we see fit, Liberal man?

If 99.9% of the people in this New York community are happy with prayer before council meetings, should the .01% get his or her way over everyone else? How is this an expression of liberty? It seems to me an example of tyranny of the minority.

Liberal man also illustrates foolishness when he claims that he doesn’t want government in his religion. Here’s a clue: religious organizations are government. They “govern” the church community. It has a hierarchy, it legislates rules that the people must obey as a condition of belonging to that church community, it collects money, and it distributes that money to various cause.

Maybe one day liberal man will realize that he doesn’t know very much, and he’ll begin to learn from others before opening his mouth and proving, beyond a doubt, how pathetic our educational system has become. There is, after all, another point of view besides “Think Progress” (an oxymoron if ever there was one).

Ed Bonderenka said...

1 Timothy 2
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

Constitutional Insurgent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Constitutional Insurgent said...

I'll preface by saying [and tis will likely surprise no one] that I don't believe God is in the business of founding the organs of political governance here on Earth. Likewise, I don't think that the institutional acknowledgement of religious faith is a legitimate function of a government that is chartered to provide equal access and protections to a polity of religious pluralism.

That said, invocations and benedictions don't really bother personally, I simply don't see the point of requiring public acknowledgment of faith by all in attendance at an event where the governance of all citizens is the mandate.

Christianity Today had an interesting article a couple of days ago titled "Why I'm Not Cheering Today's Supreme Court Prayer Decision"....where I think two salient points were made.

- "Many more of our fellow citizens are confused about evangelical methods and motives when we hitch our wagon to Caesar, and they are misled about the nature of Christ's invitation and a person's freedom in response to him."

- "A fourth harm is the fostering of civil religion by the wedding of piety to patriotism. Civil religion is the confusion of the Christian faith with love of country; an elevation of certain ceremonies, traditions, and habits of a nation to the level of the sacred. This pseudo religion can have a powerful allure, especially to those who have a strong sense of patriotism, a good thing in itself, but not when uncritically mixed with the Gospel."

The article can be found here:

Duckys here said...

Look for a battle over school prayer to be forthcoming even though the justices didn't give it an opening. Another battle to aggravate the national division.

CI brings up a good point but it would be more forthright if it substituted "nationalism" for "patriotism". Nationalism is not necessarily a good thing if you're a minority.

I don't think this has anything to do with evangelical methods. I believe the suit was brought by a Jew and an atheist and the courts ruling was passed down by men who worship Mammon above all. No evangelism in the mix.
None of this helps me understand the difference (if any) between fundamentalist and evangelical.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Ducky - I agree that nationalism is a better choice of verbiage.

And I also agree that a school prayer suit will [again] be proffered. The only way it could conceivably pass muster, is on the same grounds that the Greece suit a 'ceremonial function'. I wonder what the outspoken faithful think of this angle. School prayer however, is on even ore tenuous grounds, as nothing stops any student from praying as often as they like. School prayer is not what the plaintiffs would be would be an institutional recognition of personal communication between those who believe and their creator.

Duckys here said...

Also CI there is the matter of compulsion. Pupils, especially young one are compelled without question.

I think this particular ruling made sense and I'm more bothered by what will come after than this ruling itself.

Pris said...

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and step Moms.

To you Z, have a wonderful Happy Mother's Day!

Baysider said...

I think this whole process was bathed in a lot of prayer. There is no reason why they should have decided differently, though. I'm tired of having my freedom trampled on by noisy crows who can't stand the mention of God in the public square. If we stay quiet all anyone will hear is their squawking. And some will start to believe they are the only ones with the privilege to speak.

As for prayer in school, Nathan Hale set a wonderful example of a dedicated teacher who would pull individual students with problems aside, pray with them, and their parents and work with the whole family. A true in loco parentis. We have real problems now that teachers are terrified to do such a thing.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Baysider - "I'm tired of having my freedom trampled on by noisy crows who can't stand the mention of God in the public square."

Of course, it's not the public square we're talking about here, it official venues of governance. The public square comprises of far more than government functions. In those functions, why should your 'freedom' to use that time and place, trump the 'freedom' of those who do not share your [or any] faith?

Ed Bonderenka said...

Many teachers and administrators have been confused as to the limits on school prayer or even carrying a Bible in school.
Or perhaps were not confused at all.
Pushback is in order.

Duckys here said...

Yes, Ed and those who aren't interested in your brand of indoctrination will push right back.

Impertinent said...


"School prayer is not what the plaintiffs would be seeking....."

Would that be inclusive of those who insist on a private space 5 times a day too?

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Imp - If I take your meaning correctly, I don't support setting side private spaces or times for someone to communicate with their Creator. Most schools already are forced to spread out to trailers due to increased class sizes and limiting classroom space.

Additionally, much like any other prayer, it is not a requirement for the function of government to accommodate this. The Muslim prayer times - or 'Salat' - are flexible in regards to not being able to break away from other activities. Muslim students can make up these prayers after school hours, which is called 'Qada'.

Ed Bonderenka said...

When I say pushback, it's in relation to maintaining an equilibrium.
We didn't start the fight.
We won't step out of the way and be rolled over.
I'm not comfortable with government prayer in school.
If I lived in Dearbornistan, my kids would have to Salat, and I'd have none of that.
But too many misinterpret current rulings.
And McGuffy was the common core for a century and more.
If I attend a public meeting, I can invoke God in addressing the council. Why should they not in opening it?

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Ed - "If I attend a public meeting, I can invoke God in addressing the council. Why should they not in opening it?"

I would think the difference is obvious. You would be present as a private citizen in the public square, with all of the requisite rights and protections of the 1st Amendment and religious freedom. The Council members would be present in the capacity of representatives of local government...chartered not to espouse a religious faith, but to make and amend rules of governance for the polity.

Ed Bonderenka said...

thought I'd try....

Bob said...

Thank you, Ed.
Ed Bonderenka said..."
1 Timothy 2
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,"

I am a Christian. I am not in favor of prayer in public schools or legislative meetings. We see coming to pass the situation that even Islamic devils can lead prayers in school. I would not want my children to learn to pray from a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or other Godless person.

God help me, but I agree with Liberalmann when he says, "I don't want government in my religion nor do I want religion in my government." Remember Mark 2:17, "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." This illustrates to me that as Christians we should separate our earth bound governmental activities from our religious activities. This does not mean that we should not vote our beliefs, or recognize moral imperatives as being part of governing.

This is why we can elect a President that does not believe in God, because that does make that person a bad executive. Of course, sometimes we elect incompetent executives like Barack Obama. You cannot accuse Obama of being religiously oriented.

If we don't want some governmental body to support one set of religious values or traditions over others, then we need to politely curtail the practice. I think God will understand.

Duckys here said...

Now if only bob and Ed can bring the same attitude to the curriculum.

I doubt you have any reservations concerning a "biblical" science curriculum.

Ed Bonderenka said...

I do not want mandated prayer.
I want a president and congress that prays.
Like I said earlier, what the Founders wanted seems passe.
As the SCOTUS ruling said, congress historically had a chaplain, opened with prayer.
It was a different day.
We were a Christian nation.
That was a good thing.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Ducky, if the science proves a creator, and it does, why teach a lie?

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Bob - Well said. I agree.

Ed - "I want a president and congress that prays."

I'd offer that you've gotten that with every POTUS and the overwhelming majority of the members of Congress.

"We were a Christian nation."

I'd say that some of the Founders might disagree. Though penned by John Barlow in the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, the following text was approved by John Adams: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

But you raise a good point. What is the definition of a "Christian nation"? Is it merely a majority of the polity professing to be of the Christian faith? If so...I have no issue with that.

Is it in the sense that Christian Nationalists use it, desiring to abrogate our Constitution in favor of rule by Biblical law? I have a huge problem with that. I simply see so many definitions of the Christian nation theme, to be sure what it even means.

"...if the science proves a creator, and it does, why teach a lie?"

I'm not pursuing argument for it's own sake, but wouldn't you agree that science implies an intelligent creation, rather than 'proving' a Creator?
Further, science neither proves or implies a specific faith. That is left to the conjecture, or faith, of man.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Christian populace, secular government comprised of christian men, but not limited to.
Intelligent creation implies a creator. Lowercase "c"?
The only thing that limits recognizing "creation" is a refusal to do so.
Biblical creation account may be problematical for some, but beats every other creation account.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

"Intelligent creation implies a creator. Lowercase "c"?"

Or creators.

"The only thing that limits recognizing "creation" is a refusal to do so."

Since this recognition lies entirely within one's belief, you're technically correct.

"Christian populace, secular government comprised of christian men, but not limited to."

I don't have an issue with the paradigm, as long as Government remains secular.

Duckys here said...

Ducky, if the science proves a creator, and it does, why teach a lie?
Ed, I assume you mean the argument by design. There has been considerable refutation.
No, I think you have to teach evolution.

Would you teach Aquinas?
ow about Kierkegaard's doctrine that faith is meaningless without doubt. It's pretty powerful.

Sticky question.

Z said...

I agree with Ed and Bob nearly 100%.

I absolutely wish that God COULD be in everything American, but it can't be. But I totally understand why it can't be.
And Ed is right; we were steamrolled, we did not start this...but I will push back... and we all have every right not to be steamrolled by a handful of atheists, who I totally respect and would never stand in the way of them and their NON GOD. NEVER.

Be my guest.

Yes, "Christian Nation" as far as that being the majority; and that being the faith that did found this nation. I get a little tired of the "our founders weren't Christian" stuff because for every letter from Jefferson, there are many who disagree with him. And I'd REALLY rather not get into this here again for the 108943987th time.
You all believe what you want to believe.

And I believe that kids in school should be taught both theories of creation ..and fairly.

Bob said...

"I doubt you have any reservations concerning a "biblical" science curriculum" says Ducky.

I don't have a problem with schools teaching science. I don't have a problem with schools teaching evolution, whatever that is at the moment. I don't have a problem with schools teaching Biblical creation.

Is this contradictory? Maybe to some, but let me elucidate.

The traditional idea of evolution has never been real science. There was nothing that you could measure and nothing to replicate as in testing scientific hypotheses. How can you test the idea that we are direct descendants from homo hablis, or zinjanthropus? There are probably dozens of fossils of "pre-human" origin found, and people jump at the idea that this is science. Maybe identifying the bones is science, but connecting these fossils into some sort of linear familial arrangement is guesswork.

Having said that, it is an interesting hypothesis, but there is no way to test it, unless you can figure out someway to link them genetically.

Genetics is science, at least we think it is. So far, the promised medical stuff has not come to pass, but tying lineage seems to be nailed down.

Now, from a quality of life view, teaching any of the theories of creation will not change anybody's quality of life, and nobody's life depends on creation stories. You can believe it or not, it just doesn't make any practical difference.

The problem is that some of the science being taught in public schools is political, especially climate science. How do I know? I look at the actual data, and there is no magic here. Everybody's agrees with the so-called consensus, but the climate consensus is a trivial thing.

Where they go wrong is teaching that science can be determined by a consensus, when that is totally false.

The crap that the Obama administration is pushing has nothing to do with climate science, but everything to do with diverting attention from the multitude of scandals he has accrued during his tenure.

Kid said...

Agree with Sam. In the progressive efforts to remove religion, they are forcing atheism. The hypocrisy which is the middle name of any fascist libtard.

I wonder how they feel about muslums.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Duck, pick your refutation, and I mine.
Teach Aquinas? Yes.
It's helped form our culture.
Teach Paul for the same reason.
We get taught a lot of nonsense as fact, what's a little more, if that's what you think of it.

Z said...

A Funny Story sort of on topic: At least I found it funny!

Last night, I was at a women's retreat and there was a marvelous speaker. I had my head full of BREAKING BAD, which I've rented from Netflix and had watched about 2 discs worth on Saturday. I guess drugs were somehow on my mind because, when this speaker suddenly said "Paul was stoned," I swear I thought "STONED?":)
I quickly realized what she'd meant, but for a second there.. :-)

classic moment. For me, anyway.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Paul was not Heisenberg.

Bob said...

Florida man wants to open town council meeting with satanist prayer

Duckys here said...

Well you knew that was coming.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Z - "And Ed is right; we were steamrolled, we did not start this..."

Really? Legislation based on the Christian belief system have been on our secular law books since the inception of this nation. Legislation that has limited the freedom of American citizens who not subscribe to that belief system. Christians most certainly did 'start this'. Not necessarily out of any malice, but when liberty is the goal, repression of such must be fought.

Z said...

CI. I completely disagree.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Z - No worries. I respect your opinion nonetheless.

Z said...

Same here, of course.

Have a good night, everyone.

Rational Nation USA said...

A slippery slope. Cleats will become neccessary.