Home / News / Supreme Court rules in favor of religion and state coming together
Supreme Court rules in favor of religion and state coming together

Supreme Court rules in favor of religion and state coming together

For separation of church and state, the First Amendment does not allow the government to make a law "respecting an establishment of religion."  According to the First Amendment then, it should be unconstitutional for the town board in Greece, NY to open its meetings with a Christian prayer.  However, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the board in Town of Greece, New York vs. Galloway, allowing them to continue opening meetings with Christian prayer.

Normally it is okay to open with prayer if "the prayer opportunity is not exploited to proselytize or advance any one…faith or belief."  The town of Greece has chaplains from the Protestant and Catholic churches open their meetings with Christian prayers using the words "Jesus," "Christ," "the Holy Spirit," and the "resurrection and ascension of the Savior Jesus Christ."

"So long as the town maintains a policy of nondiscrimination, the Constitution does not require it to search beyond its borders for non-Christian prayer givers in an effort to…'promote a diversity of views,'" said the five justices who held the majority.  The four justices opposing the ruling said Greece's prayer violated the Constitution's commitment to the "norm of religious equality."  Justice Elena Kagan said they "never sought (except briefly when this suit was filed) to involve, accommodate, or in any ways reach out to adherents of non-Christian religions."

In order for the town of Greece not to be in violation of the First Amendment, the prayers must be non-sectarian or must be delivered of clergy of different faiths.  Kagan said "what it did: infuse a participatory government body with one (and only one) faith."  She also said since the town is not including all religions that Jews, Muslims, and Hindus may feel left out and like second class citizens.

About Jodi Hillman

Jodi is a writer and a blogger. She has been writing for two years and it is a passion of hers.
Scroll To Top