May 6, 2014

SCOTUS Makes Another Poor Decision

West Facade of the United States Supreme Court...
West Facade of the United States Supreme Court Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While conservative Christians here in Mississippi are jubilant over the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Greece v. Galloway that it is perfectly acceptable for town boards to begin meetings with sectarian prayers, many atheists are considerably less pleased. How's that for an understatement? Here is a quick sampling of perspectives from around the atheist blogosphere:
The fact that many secularists are disappointed with the decision comes as no surprise. According to The New York Times,
The ruling cleared the way for sectarian prayers before meetings of local governments around the nation with only the lightest judicial supervision.
It is difficult to imagine many secularists viewing that as a positive thing. This is another poor decision from the Court. And yet, some are already pointing to a possible silver lining here.

Mike D (The A-Unicornist) wrote:
Similarly, this type of 'victory' for conservative Christians could end up giving them more than they bargained for. I'm inclined to agree that this type of religious pomposity (the Pharisees would certainly be proud of modern religious conservatives) isn't necessarily unconstitutional, with the gargantuan caveat that if you let one religion in, you must let all of them in. But if a case can be established that people of other faiths are being excluded or marginalized, the floodgates will be opened for lawsuits that could ultimately undermine the court's decision today.
If he's right that allowing one religion (e.g., Christianity) in necessarily means that all religions must be allowed in, Satanists and Pastafarians could soon make things quite interesting.

I hope that this decision serves to mobilize secular activists to expand efforts to push for change. National organizations like the Center for Inquiry, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Secular Coalition for America are speaking out against this ruling, and I hope those of us who value the separation of church and state will join them. If we can channel the frustration we are feeling into activism, some good can come of this.

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