Court Upholds Prayer at NY Town Meetings - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 5, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that mostly Christian prayers, delivered by a “chaplain of the month” before town meetings, do not violate the establishment clause, the ABA Journal reports. A 5-4 majority upheld the practice saying it “comports with our tradition and does not coerce participation.” While the suit had sought to limit prayers to those that do not reference a particular faith or belief, the majority found that such a “fixed standard” was “not consistent with the tradition of legislative prayer” and would actually force legislatures and courts to “act as supervisors and censors of religious speech.” Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissenting opinion in which she argued that town hall meetings do not need to be religion-free zones but that the town of Greece “did nothing to recognize religious diversity” until it was sued.