The Supreme Court has gone and done a silly thing.
They ruled today, 5 – 4, as usual, in the case of Town of Greece v Galloway. In that case, an atheist and a Jew had filed suit when Greece, New York, started to have prayers before council meetings that were officiated by, essentially, only Christians. That town changed their tune back in 2007 and began to be more expansive, but by then things were already underway in the courts.
Today’s court ruling means, as near as I can tell, that there’s no problem at all having only Christians deliver prayers before town council meetings, or any other purely political event where people feel the need to add in a soupcon of religion.
This is a bad and stupid idea, if that is, indeed, what this ruling means. Imagine that you’re not a Christian, but you have to go and listen to Christian prayers before you can engage your local politicians in your civic duty to be an informed voter. Ok, maybe you don’t care. Perhaps you’re already a Christian and think that the rest of us who aren’t should just suck it up and realize we live in a “Christian nation”, whatever that means exactly. Fine, fair enough. Your point is stupid, but ok. Let’s go with it.
So suppose you, a good ole God-fearing Southern Baptist, are sitting in your town council hall, all ready to roll, and up steps Father John of the local Catholic church. How comfortable are you going to be? Let’s take that a step further, and assume that the only people who ever get to start off these prayers are people who are Catholics. You’re a Southern Baptist. How much are you going to tolerate that? Or assume that it’s a Mormon elder, a Methodist minister, or a Quaker. Are you really going to be happy with this?
Having religion invocations at purely civic and political events is a stupid thing anyhow. If I were religious, I think I’d be offended at people mixing God with common politics. But as it stands, I just think it’s obnoxious that the believers continue to insist that if we non-believers want to participate in civic government, we have to listen to your religious preaching first.
The Court was wrong, pure and simple, and I look forward to the eventual ruling, some ten or twenty years hence, that overturns this, and just maybe abolishes this nonsense.