November 2, 2008

Victory For Christian Extremists in Georgia

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...Image via WikipediaHere in the American bible belt, it is fairly common for meetings to begin with a prayer. This bizarre practice can even be found happening at public universities and state governmental institutions. Is it legal? The answer seems to depend greatly on who one asks.

According to an October 28, 2008, press release issued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just upheld the use of sectarian prayers before government meetings in Cobb County, GA.

In the 2-1 ruling, the court held that Cobb County's practice of beginning governmental meetings with prayers is constitutional, even which such prayers contain reference to specific religious figures.

Strangely, Americans United and the ACLU of Georgia had not even been opposing prayer in such cases and were only asking that it be non-sectarian. You see, under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, it was okay for official government meetings to include prayer as long as it was clearly non-sectarian. With this appellate ruling, it appears that even specific references to Jee-zuhs (the most commonly cited religious deity in the South) are permitted.

It sounds like having a right-wing "activist judge" on the bench got the Christian extremist side exactly what they wanted.

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