If you happened upon the evening news Monday night, you probably heard about how the small town of Greece, New York won “arguably the biggest legal victory for religious liberty in 31 years,” as one Breitbart analyst said. Still not sure what it all means? Here are 7 things you need to know about Town of Greece v. Galloway.
- The town of Greece is inclusive. Much was made about the majority of prayers during Greece’s town meetings being Christian, but there’s a reason for that…the majority of the town of Greece is, in fact, Christian. In Greece any citizen of any faith, even an atheist, can deliver the prayer (or inspirational talk) at the meetings. As the Court noted, the town accommodates growing community diversity not by censoring Christian content but by welcoming many creeds.
- Being offended does not violate the Constitution. According to Justice Kennedy, if the town council compelled or coerced people to pray, the situation would be different. In this circumstance, the two women challenging the town of Greece were simply offended by the prayers. But just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it violates the Constitution.
- The Obama administration sided with Greece.Pick your jaw up off the floor. It’s true. To the surprise of many, back in August, the Obama administration argued that the prayers in the town of Greece did not violate the Constitution. You can read about it here.
- You are free to pray.Monday’s ruling protects the freedom of community volunteers to pray according to their faith in a public setting. That means you don’t have to settle for generic “to Whom it may concern” language when referencing God in prayer.
- Prayers should be consistent with the purpose of the meeting.Opening public meetings with prayer has both sacred and secular benefits. Prayers that provide both benefits are consistent with the purpose of the meeting. The secular benefits include lending gravity and a sense of solemnity to the meeting. Therefore, the Court cautioned against prayers at public meetings that condemn or seek to convert people of other religions.
- The vote was 5-4. Although we won, the vote was close. Let’s continue to pray for our judges and elected officials to protect prayer.
- This decision has ramifications upon many cases involving religious liberty.The Court’s decision will influence religious liberty cases for years to come. And with several cases challenging public prayers still in progress in lower courts, this decision will most certainly impact them. While most of us won’t be present in those court rooms, we can make our voices heard. Show your support and let your elected officials know you believe in public prayer by signing our petition.
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