Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/8/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Two women in upstate New York take exception to mostly Christian prayers at meetings

In addressing the concerns of two women in the upstate New York community of Greece, Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and atheist Linda Stephens, the Supreme Court is currently hashing out the limitation of prayer at government meetings. In testing the long-contested separation of church and state, it appears that the justices had no interest in eliminating prayer altogether at such meetings. The justices seem to be grappling with whether new limits would let such prayer not make those who disagree with the message feel coerced into participating, for fear that they may alienate government officials.

The lawsuit about prayer at government meetings of Susan Galloway, right, and Linda Stephens, residents of Greece, N.Y., went before the Supreme Court this week.

The lawsuit about prayer at government meetings of Susan Galloway, right, and Linda Stephens, residents of Greece, N.Y., went before the Supreme Court this week.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/8/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Government meetings, prayer, Supreme Court


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Justice Elena Kagan wondered aloud whether it would be permissible for the Supreme Court to open its sessions by having a minister face the lawyers and "acknowledge the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross." Kagan said "the members of the court who had stood responded, 'Amen,' made the sign of the cross, and the chief justice then called your case. Would that be permissible?"

A lawyer for the town of Greece, Thomas Hungar, said he didn't think so. But in the case of prayer before a legislative body, court doctrine has found that the country, "from its very foundations and founding," allows it, he said.

One Jewish woman, the other an atheist, are suing the town of Greece where meetings of the governing board have opened with a prayer since 1999. When the women formally complained that  the prayer was offered exclusively by Christians, the difficulty which ked to the suit began.

It's the first case on legislative prayer to come before the court since 1983, when the justices held that the Nebraska Legislature did not violate the Constitution by opening sessions with a prayer from a Presbyterian minister acting as the state-paid chaplain.

Some justices questioned what would be an acceptable prayer to appeal to all faiths as well as nonbelievers. Justice Antonin Scalia asked, to laughter in the courtroom: "What about devil-worshipers?"

Chief Justice John Roberts wanted to know: "Who is going to make this determination?"

Scalia drew a distinction between prayers before a legislative session and prayers before a judicial session.

"They are there as citizens," Scalia said, speaking of legislators. "And as citizens, they bring to their job all of - all of the predispositions that citizens have. And these people perhaps invoke the deity at meals. They should not be able to invoke it before they undertake a serious governmental task such as enacting laws or ordinances?"

The attorney representing the two women says that it was fine for them to invoke a deity or have a prayer, and certainly to pray to themselves. "We've said they cannot impose sectarian prayer on the citizenry, and that is very different from what Congress does," attorney Douglas Laycock said. "It is very different from what this court does."

The Supreme Court opens its sessions with an invocation: "God save the United States and this honorable court."

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Of nearly 38,000 immigrant children in the U.S. - only 280 deported Watch

Image of Federal officials expect another huge surge of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to begin shortly after the temperatures go down.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a surprising bit of news, the Obama administration has quietly released a huge majority of the illegal immigrant children who poured over the U.S. Mexico border earlier this year. Furthermore, they're making their homes in very well-to-do American ... continue reading


Classic Cloward-Piven: Here's the simple reason why Obama is breaking the immigration system in the USA Watch

Image of Obama's Cloward-Piven strategy is showing.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

You can't fix something unless you break it first. This appears to be what Obama has done to the U.S. immigration system. Political analysts now expect that Obama will use the current immigration crisis to overhaul the system into something he likes. But more ... continue reading


Stopping at nothing, Davos Man, Warren Buffett, donates staggering $1.2 billion to promote abortion Watch

Image of Obama awarding Buffett the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Warren Buffett has given $1.2 billion to fund abortion advocacy and "research." This startling conclusion comes from the New York Times, which is reporting that he donates hundreds of millions of dollars at a time to a foundation named after his late wife, Susan ... continue reading


Get ready America: Obama set to bypass Senate on international treaty Watch

Image of President Obama and his administration are getting ready to present a climate change treaty to the U.N. and are willing to ignore a Constitutionally required Senate approval to do so.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama is working to create a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut fossil fuel emissions; however, he is seeking to do this without ratification from Congress. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This agreement is ... continue reading


That was one costly Web site! In fact the most expensive in Internet history. The Cost of Healthcare.gov estimated $1.7 Billion Watch

Image of The 60 contracts related to the development and operation of the Federal Marketplace started between January 2009 and January 2014. The contracts ranged from health benefit data collection and consumer research, to cloud computing and Web site development.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

That's one might expensive Web site! It's estimated that the Healthcare. Gove Web site, intended to facilitate health care reform, or "Obamacare," has cost U.S. Taxpayers about $1.7 BILLION dollars. That's not even the half of it, as the U.S. government is ... continue reading


Obama administration announces new HHS mandate rules Watch

Image of Sylvia Burwell, HHS secretary, said that the new rules will ensure access to free contraception,

By CNA/EWTN News

The Department of Health and Human Services issued on Friday new rules regarding its contraception mandate, after the Supreme Court ruled against its application to certain companies this summer. (CNA/EWTN News) - The rules create a new way for non-profit groups to ... continue reading


BEEN THERE: Attorney General Eric Holder shares personal experiences while in Ferguson Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric Holder shakes hands with Bri Ehsan, right, following his meeting with students at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Ferguson, Missouri to investigate the officer-involved shooting of teenager Michael Brown, Attorney General Eric Holder shared personal stories of his own encounters with racial discrimination. "I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a ... continue reading


One percent? Try the MORE THAN A THIRD in U.S. who rely on Welfare Watch

Image of Back in the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Back in the "Occupy Wall Street" days, protestors rallied around the concept of the United States' "One Percent," which referred to the people with power in the U.S. government. On the other side of the coin, more than ONE THIRD of all U.S. households are now ... continue reading


SMILE FOR THE CAMERA! Texas Governor Rick Perry cheerfully turns himself in Watch

Image of Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Under duress, Texas Governor Rick Perry maintained an upbeat and positive attitude. Arriving at the Travis County courthouse in Austin for booking and fingerprinting, Perry gave a warm smile for his mug shot. He's charged with felony corruption charges ... continue reading


HIDDEN FROM VIEW: President Obama renders decision largely in private, despite claims of transparency Watch

Image of Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Facing charges of executive overreach, to allegations that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, U.S. President Obama has been making decisions typically behind closed doors. Unilateral action on such issues as immigration, gay rights and tax policy has ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 2:1-5
1 Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
97 How I love your Law! I ponder it all day ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2014 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter