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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:16 PM

Prayer At Public Meetings Lawsuits Continue Across The Country

Source: Huffington Post

Prayer At Public Meetings Lawsuits Continue Across The Country
By JESSICA GRESKO 11/21/12 02:50 PM ET EST

WASHINGTON It happens every week at meetings in towns, counties and cities nationwide. A lawmaker or religious leader leads a prayer before officials begin the business of zoning changes, contract approvals and trash pickup.

But citizens are increasingly taking issue with these prayers, some of which have been in place for decades. At least five lawsuits around the country in California, Florida, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee are actively challenging pre-meeting prayers.

Lawyers on both sides say there is a new complaint almost weekly, though they don't always end up in court. When they do, it seems even courts are struggling to draw the line over the acceptable ways to pray. Some lawyers and lawmakers believe it's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court will weigh in to resolve the differences. The court has previously declined to take on the issue, but lawyers in a New York case plan to ask the justices in December to revisit it. And even if the court doesn't take that particular case, it could accept a similar one in the future.

Lawmakers who defend the prayers cite the nation's founders and say they're following a long tradition of prayer before public meetings. They say residents don't have to participate and having a prayer adds solemnity to meetings and serves as a reminder to do good work.


Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/21/prayer-at-public-meetings-fight_n_2171691.html

24 replies, 3022 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply Prayer At Public Meetings Lawsuits Continue Across The Country (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2012 OP
GoneOffShore Nov 2012 #1
DainBramaged Nov 2012 #3
csziggy Nov 2012 #13
grantcart Nov 2012 #5
AtheistCrusader Nov 2012 #2
AlbertCat Nov 2012 #4
AnotherMcIntosh Nov 2012 #6
Ezlivin Nov 2012 #7
yorgatron Nov 2012 #8
Ineeda Nov 2012 #14
Overseas Nov 2012 #18
Tyrs WolfDaemon Nov 2012 #9
CANDO Nov 2012 #15
bread_and_roses Nov 2012 #10
Wolf Frankula Nov 2012 #11
forestpath Nov 2012 #12
sarcasmo Nov 2012 #16
mrmpa Nov 2012 #17
former9thward Nov 2012 #19
Bandit Nov 2012 #21
former9thward Nov 2012 #24
humblebum Nov 2012 #20
Paulie Nov 2012 #22
humblebum Nov 2012 #23

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:28 PM

1. Time to get rid of prayer in the public sphere.

There is no need to use prayer to 'add(s) solemnity to meetings and serve(s) as a reminder to do good work'.



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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:39 PM

3. If the prayer leaders can prove God participates in their meetings, they can continue

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Response to DainBramaged (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:07 PM

13. When God (or his worldly agents) pay taxes

I won't object to prayer at public meetings.

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Response to GoneOffShore (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:48 PM

5. Amen

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:29 PM

2. They say 'adds solemnit', I say adds silly theatrics.

Time for it to go. Want to pray at your meeting? Have it in a church, unrelated to the business of Government.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:42 PM

4. serves as a reminder to do good work.

They're gonna do BAD work if someone doesn't pray?????

Come in early and pray. But spend OUR time on OUR business.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 04:52 PM

6. Equal time should be given to someone each meeting to show how silly the religious cant is.

 

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 05:02 PM

7. But we've done it for years and no one complained before!

To that oft-heard response it's good to reply that just because they got away with abusing the Constitutional rights of others doesn't mean they can continue.

There are countless small towns where their insularity and homogeneity allowed them to start sessions with a Christian prayer and not fear complaints. Now that demographics are shifting many of these towns are no longer as "pure" in their ideological framework.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:45 PM

8. just try to lead a prayer that isn't their favorite religion.

they'll shut that down in a hurry.

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Response to yorgatron (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:09 PM

14. Bingo.

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Response to yorgatron (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:25 PM

18. I agree.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 06:47 PM

9. I say that any meeting that uses a gavel should have it changed to a Thor's Hammer

That way they are offering a prayer to Thor to protect them without even having to say anything!

If they want to be fancy, I'm sure we could find them ones that have sound effects for each time they use it.


The way I see it, the Repubs and the Evil Ice Giants are fairly interchangeable and since you can deal with the evil Jotunn with Thor's Hammer, the same should be true of Repubs.

There is even a version* that will open your favorite brew


* Wolf-Daemon approved

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Response to Tyrs WolfDaemon (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:58 PM

15. Yeungling Lager

That's some good brew right there! Pottsville, PA

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:26 PM

10. About time (n/t)

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 07:47 PM

11. I've often wondered what would happen if somebody began a public meeting with

"Allfather Odin, Look down upon us tonight and give us wisdom..." or "Iuppiter Omnipotens, Grant us the strength to do what we must do.." or any non-monotheistic prayer.

Wolf

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:00 PM

12. Religion has no place in government!

 

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 09:38 PM

16. Kick!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Nov 21, 2012, 11:40 PM

17. I made a complaint about this to the ACLU........

here in PA. I attended a township meeting that began with a prayer, and I was disgusted. Never did hear from the ACLU.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 02:38 PM

19. These lawsuits are beyond useless.

Both the House and Senate open their sessions with a prayer. Congress employs full time religious personnel. If that is Constitutional (and the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't said it isn't for 223 years and counting) then any local prayers will have no problem.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #19)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 09:12 AM

21. Using that logic, a prayer starting the day off, in school should be just fine then....

I think the supreme Court has already ruled that can not happen.. I see very little difference between the two...

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Response to Bandit (Reply #21)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:00 AM

24. You don't but the Supreme Court does.

The SC has said prayer in school cases are different because students are not adults and can be more susceptible to being led into a particular religion.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Nov 22, 2012, 06:39 PM

20. If the prayers are voluntary, then they should continue. As long as the US Congress has

 

a chaplain any lesser body should continue also. Disallowing any prayer that is voluntary and not coerced violates not only the free exercise clause but freedom of speech also.

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Response to humblebum (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 09:41 AM

22. We are talking government

There is no right to exercise religion in a government context. The constitution is clear there, as it is codified in the negative.

What's wrong with being neutral and respecting all by not doing this on government time?

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Response to Paulie (Reply #22)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:59 AM

23. Excuse me? "Free exercise" and "free speech" are exactly that. There are no exceptions

 

Last edited Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:42 AM - Edit history (1)

to the term "free" stated in the Constitution.

Government is prohibited from requiring prayer, and government is prohibited from interfering with prayer.

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