Yesterday Reuters posted an article on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow prayer before public meetings. Please note that it was a five to four decision. Our right to prayer at public meetings was upheld by one vote.
The details of the decision can be found at the Supreme Court’s website. The decision included the following:
An insistence on nonsectarian or ecumenical prayer as a single, fixed standard is not consistent with the traditionof legislative prayer outlined in the Court’s cases. The Court found the prayers in Marsh consistent with the First Amendment not because they espoused only a ge- neric theism but because our history and tradition have shown that prayer in this limited context could “coexis[t]with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” 463 U. S., at 786. The Congress that drafted the First Amendment would have been accustomed to invocations containing explicitly religious themes of the sort respondents find objectionable. One of the Senate’s first chaplains, the Rev. William White, gave prayers in a series that included the Lord’s Prayer, the Collect for Ash Wednesday, prayers for peace and grace, a general thanksgiving, St. Chrysostom’s Prayer, and a prayer seeking “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.” Letter from W. White to H. Jones (Dec. 29, 1830), in B. Wilson,Memoir of the Life of the Right Reverend William White, D.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania 322 (1839); see also New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette, Dec. 15, 1823, p. 1 (describing a Senate prayer addressing the “Throne of Grace”); Cong.Globe, 37th Cong., 1st Sess., 2 (1861) (reciting the Lord’s Prayer). The decidedly Christian nature of these prayers must not be dismissed as the relic of a time when our Nation was less pluralistic than it is today. Congress continues to permit its appointed and visiting chaplains to express themselves in a religious idiom. It acknowledges our growing diversity not by proscribing sectarian content but by welcoming ministers of many creeds. See, e.g., 160
America is a Christian country. There is room for everyone here, but at its root, America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Congress has chaplains and opens with prayer. This ruling gives local government bodies the right to open in prayer also.