#1 Supreme Court Likely to Restore Freedom to Pray at Public Events by Eglman 07.11.2013 16:31

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Those seeking the right to pray at government events consistent with their religious beliefs seem poised for a major victory after the Nov. 6 oral arguments before the Supreme Court in Town of Greece v. Galloway.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are asking the Supreme Court to declare that faith-specific content in public prayers (which they call “sectarian” prayers) violates the Constitution, and so government bodies must tell pastors, priests, rabbis, and anyone else giving prayers that they cannot express any belief with which other people of faith might disagree.

Justice Kennedy did not like that argument, saying, “It seems to me that enforcing [that] standard… involves the state very heavily in the censorship and the approval or disapproval of prayers.” And with that, it’s almost certain the plaintiffs lost their case.

Updating our earlier report providing the details of the case and history of this issue of public prayer, Galloway is a case involving offering public invocations at the outset of meetings of lawmaking bodies such as a house of Congress, state legislature, or city council.

The Court had upheld this tradition--called legislative prayer--in its 1983 case Marsh v. Chambers, noting that the First Congress--which wrote the Bill of Rights, including the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment at issue here--created congressional chaplains’ offices to offer legislative prayers just a few days after they wrote the Establishment Clause. The Court also noted that these prayers began with the Continental Congress in 1774 and endured to the present at the federal, state, and local levels.

In Galloway, the Town of Greece invites all houses of worship to volunteer to pray at town board meetings and further welcomes any residents who belong to faiths that do not have a house of worship or belong to an organized religion by also allowing any citizen to volunteer. All volunteers are allowed to pray on a first-come, first-served basis. While this 90% Christian town predictably has a heavy majority of Christian volunteers, prayers have been offered by adherents of other faiths such as a Jewish man, a Baha'i follower, and even a Wiccan priestess who prayed to the pagan Greek deities Apollo and Athena.

The town is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which recruited top Supreme Court litigator Thomas Hungar to argue the case.

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READ MORE:http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/...t-Public-Events

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