Separation of Church and State or Religous Intolerance

Author:Ken Wolf

From the tabloids:

US Supreme Court to hear public-meeting prayer case
States ask for clarity on rules
May 20, 2013

The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a new case on the intersection of religion and government in a dispute over prayers used to open public meetings.

The justices said they will review an appeals court ruling that held that the upstate New York town of Greece, a Rochester suburb, violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the town should have made a greater effort to invite people from other faiths to open its monthly board meetings.

The town says the high court already has upheld prayers at the start of legislative meetings and that private citizens offered invocations of their own choosing. The town said in court papers that the opening prayers should be found to be constitutional, “so long as the government does not act with improper motive in selecting prayer-givers.”

Two town residents who are not Christian complained that they felt marginalized by the steady stream of Christian prayers and challenged the practice. They are represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

http://www.clarionledger.com/viewart/20130521/NEWS01/305210019/US-Supreme-Court-hear-public-meeting-prayer-case

U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear town meeting prayer case

Two residents sued Greece, New York, in 2008, saying it was endorsing Christianity, a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of separation of church and state.

Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens said the vast majority of prayer-givers since the practice started in 1999 were Christian ministers. Attendees would often be asked to join in or bow their heads, they alleged.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/20/us-usa-court-religion-idUSBRE94J0EW20130520

Supreme Court will rule on prayer at government meetings

“The women don’t question all government prayers. Rather, they argue that in Greece, virtually all of the volunteer clergy were Christian, and two-thirds of the prayers delivered between 1999 and June 2010 contained references to “Jesus Christ,” “Your Son,” “the Holy Spirit” or “Jesus.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/20/supreme-court-prayer-new-york-government-meeting/2151385/

Susan Galloway is Jewish.

Perhaps the reason that the vast majority of prayer givers were Christian ministers is because the vast majority of the public IS Christian.  Only 6% of the population is Jewish, 66% percent is Catholic, 19% is Protestant, and 10% is listed as Other.  http://www.city-data.com/city/Greece-New-York.html#ixzz2W0vOmlPf

Linda Stephens is atheist

If an atheist felt uncomfortable during an invocation at a public meeting then one would have to question her conviction of faith. If she truly were a non-believer she would not” feel” uncomfortable, instead she simply would not care.  Atheists have no one to pray to since they reject the belief in deities therefore,  her stance is simply anti-Christian, and thus her motive in this case.

Both Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens present an intolerant attitude toward other religious groups.  Susan Galloway would cut her nose off to spite her face by not allowing ANY invocation including one from a Rabbi.  IF Linda Stephens gets her way in this case then her mission of removing religion from the state is complete.  What a selfish and intolerant attitude.

Both are represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  This group likes to use a quote by Thomas Jefferson, “, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which [built]… a wall of separation between church and state.”

The major malfunction is that of omission.  Here is the complete quote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”  Notice that Thomas Jefferson is discussing “legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Americans United for Separation of Church and State distorted Jefferson’s words to fit their agenda.

The phrase “Separation of Church and State,” is a battle cry for those who cannot tolerate any religious references, or influences on the State.

 

 

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8 comments

  1. avatar

    OK, maybe this approach would be acceptable for all of these “PUBLIC” meeting prayer/invocations.

    Instead of having a minister or any other person say a prayer before the meeting, how about just having a “Moment of silence”, which would give everyone the opportunity to say their own prayer (IN SILENCE) before the meeting. That way, no one should get offended, as each person would have the opportunity to pray to their own God,(or not), in their own way. Case Closed.

    1. avatar

      I think the only fair and Constitutional method is to open up the ability to give invocations to everyone, all religions, all faiths and even to those people who are not faith based should be able to give a spiritial invocation. Any group of people, if you should choose to only allow organized groups, should be able to go before the commissioners and give an invocation whether it is spiritual or religious.

    2. avatar

      “Instead of having a minister or any other person say a prayer before the meeting, how about just having a “Moment of silence”,”

      “Moment of silence” does not begin to approach “1st Amendment”.

      First Amendment: An Overview

      An excerpt:

      “The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. “

      “Moment of silence” seems to more closely equal “interference or constraint by the government” in this context.

  2. avatar

    The reality is two Island County Commissioners deemed prayer before a public meeting was inappropriate simply because of the volatility of the subject, and the vulnerability of a lawsuit by some anti-religious group. Therefore, the anti-religious group wins simply by default. You want absolute Separation of Church and State then use coercion and intimidation as your primary weapons. Use them until the other side eventually gives up.

    1. avatar

      The real facts are is that Helen Johnson played both sides of the fence. She quoted from the bible while making a decision that is popular with her base allowing her to appear to support religious causes while voting against prayer at Commissioners meetings.

      Jill Johnson used intolerance of other religions as her excuse for voting down prayers.

      “And what that meant was in government when you say someone can pray you’re saying they can pray to their god and their god could be Allah, their god could be a priestess, their god could be Mother Earth. And I began to realize what that would mean for me sitting up there hearing someone pray to a god that’s not my god and it is something I am unwilling to compromise on.””

      It was not the threat of a lawsuit that stopped the ICC from instituting a prayer before meetings, it was the intolerance of Jill Johnson and the political pandering for popularity of Helen Johnson that killed it. Both decisions and statements made by the 2 opposing Commissioners were not based on our laws or a threat of a lawsuit they were based on personal opinions and personal feelings even though those opinions and feelings are directly against the laws we all live by.

  3. avatar

    Cliff, I yield to your analysis of events. However, one cannot deny that there are many officials, at all levels of government, looking at this situation and saying, “It’s not worth it,” because A. the volatility of the subject, and/or B. the threat of a lawsuit depletes valuable resources (tax dollars.) Therefore, the anti-religious group wins simply by default. If you want absolute Separation of Church and State then use coercion and intimidation as your primary weapons. Use them until the other side eventually gives up.

    1. avatar

      That is because we elect politicians that have no spine and do not stand up for a fixed set of principles. We run popularity contests and do not elect leaders but followers of what is popular. We need leaders that do not interject their personal philosophies into their decisions and that do not use popularity as a basis for their decisions, we need them to only follow our laws.

      A classic example is how Helen Johnson handled this issue. She played to both sides of her popularity base, she quoted a little bible verse to allay the fears of the religious folk and maintain her popularity then voted against the question of prayers before the meeting to allay the fears of the anti religion folks…

      Jill Johnson was honest. Dead wrong but honest. I can understand that behavior out of a politician a lot better than I can someone who plays a tune depending on who the audience is…

  4. avatar

    We would solve a lot of these problems by neutralizing these progressive social democrats who are trying to destroy this country with their Marxist, socialist, and communistic ideas. When the USSR invaded eastern Europe they first went after religion, guns, and personal liberties and then required everyone to work in the “collectives”. We need to get back on track by reading the Constitution and the Bible for our guidance in life and government. The moral decay and political correctness bs is destroying this country..remember we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD !

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