Jump to content

Prayer in government. U.S Supreme Court votes 5-4 in favor of.


jduff
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thought this would be a interesting debate subject. Was talking to my friend in the UK. He laughed pretty hard and told me that it should be expected as the U.S is full of religious zealotry. Of course I replied in kind. But it seems that perhaps religion plays a role. At least the Supreme Court thinks so. Here is the story http://www.wtop.com/319/3616345/High-court-ruling-favors-prayer-at-council-meeting

 

Do you believe prayer should be allowed before a meeting of government officials? Does prayer affect you in a significant way whether pro or con? Do you believe the supreme court was right on its decision? Just a few of the questions that interest me. I personally am impartial of the decision. As someone praying does not bother me regardless of religion. For me I am on this planet for a short time. We only live this life once(As far as we know). So someone praying is not really going to bother me. In fact, I encourage prayer if it results in a positive outcome for that person doing it. Or is in general positive towards me.

 

What are your views of this decision?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Do you believe prayer should be allowed before a meeting of government officials?"

If they like, but they shouldn't be paid for their time while they do so.

 

"In fact, I encourage prayer if it results in a positive outcome for that person doing it."

It's a government meeting. I want them to get the right answer, and there's no reason to suppose that prayer helps that. I'm not paying for "a positive outcome for that person doing it."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of these types of prayers are for their god to guide their decisions. I'm always quite a bit leery when legislators in a republic with a clear distinction between church and state call upon the supernatural to perform their secular duties, but I don't know that they're using this connection unwisely. Leaders who have their fingers on the button should NEVER be thinking they're doing what their god wants them to. I would hope political decisions could be made more rationally.

 

I think even hard-core Republicans blanch at thinking how close Sarah Palin came to being POTUS when they hear her talking about Armageddon the way she does. You just know that if she launched our nukes, she'd claim it was God's will.

 

In most cases this prayer before the council meeting is probably harmless, but the potential for corruption is great. People who pray like this in non-church settings tend to think those who don't pray want the opposite outcome, rather than that they just don't practice a faith ("You refuse to pray for our solider's safe return? Why do you want them to die?").

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If prayer could put a man on the moon without a rocket and keep him safe, I'd accept it as being a rational process. Otherwise, it is an irrational expression of hope that something will help. I'd like to believe that people in power know the difference between rational and irrational. Unfortunately, this supreme court decision is not comforting.

 

If someone wants to pray silently, or aloud in a group of like minded people; so be it. Just don't involve me or anyone who does not want it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of these types of prayers are for their god to guide their decisions. I'm always quite a bit leery when legislators in a republic with a clear distinction between church and state call upon the supernatural to perform their secular duties, but I don't know that they're using this connection unwisely. Leaders who have their fingers on the button should NEVER be thinking they're doing what their god wants them to. I would hope political decisions could be made more rationally.

 

I think even hard-core Republicans blanch at thinking how close Sarah Palin came to being POTUS when they hear her talking about Armageddon the way she does. You just know that if she launched our nukes, she'd claim it was God's will.

 

In most cases this prayer before the council meeting is probably harmless, but the potential for corruption is great. People who pray like this in non-church settings tend to think those who don't pray want the opposite outcome, rather than that they just don't practice a faith ("You refuse to pray for our solider's safe return? Why do you want them to die?").

So Phi, you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray? A bias perhaps?

 

Also if Sarah Palin came to being POTUS I would probably move to another country. Our media had a field day with such a target.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So Phi, you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray? A bias perhaps?

 

I think, if I were to get voted in to one of these city councils, and I refused to join in with their prayer, they would be more apt to think I didn't share their sentiment rather than their religious beliefs. Does that make sense?

 

It's not that they'd look down on me for not praying because I don't believe in their god. I think if they wanted to pray for their god to guide their decisions in the city council meeting, and I refused to join them, they'd look down on me because they'd think I didn't want their decisions to be good ones.

 

I once argued with someone about a faith-based initiative his church wanted to adopt. I made it clear that I didn't think the government should be funding his church because they don't pay taxes and it violates the separation between Church and State. His response was to ask me why I was against helping orphans. This makes it seem like any means justify the ends if it's part of your faith. That scares me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prayer may not do any harm but it had never been shown to do any good either. I often wonder how those that want to pray would react to someone who wants to pray to another god, maybe a pagan ritual. If they are against that then it's obvious their prayer has an agenda that is less than representative of everyone.

 

Prayer should stay in private, home or church, but I am at the point now days that would come close to approving a hunting season for street preachers so maybe I shouldn't be allowed to make such decisions.

 

People of "faith" bother me, they wear their faith like it's a good thing when in fact it just shows how gullible they are, such faith is only allowed in reference to religion, try to sell them a flying dog and see how quickly their critical thinking kicks in.

 

In Texas a few years ago they had a bad drought, the governor held a huge prayer rally for rain, of course rain didn't happen but it makes you wonder why wasting time and money that way is approved.

 

Religion to me is nothing more than a way to bully people into believing your way is correct with no evidence to support your point of view. In government i think this is dangerous, you don't have to look back to horribly far to see this allow different flavors of the same religion to persecute each other. Mixing religion and government is simply the beginning of such persecution...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the rubber will meet the road when someone wants to open a meeting with a prayer that praises Allah. If that request is denied, or there are other problems, then I think this will have to be revisited.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, this is why we have separation. Religion and politics are both very powerful by themselves.

 

Plenty of things seem innocuous until they're not. This reminds me of a 5th Amendment argument. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't mind answering police questions about a crime, right? But nothing you tell the police can ever be used to help you if they decide you might be a suspect. They even warn you with the Miranda: Anything you say can and will be held against you. And if you said something in your interview that could help you in court, the prosecuting attorney will throw it out as hearsay.

 

There have been a great many people who thought "No big deal" and lived to regret it. Religious people, people who pray, have no built-in guidance system that helps them make the right choices in every situation. But I think they think they do, and that's why we shouldn't mix prayer and politics. Leaders should take responsibility for their decisions, without a rubber stamp from their god.

 

"I trust God speaks through me, without that I couldn't do my job." --George W Bush

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the rubber will meet the road when someone wants to open a meeting with a prayer that praises Allah. If that request is denied, or there are other problems, then I think this will have to be revisited.

 

 

This also opens the door to persecution via intimidation, how many times have you bowed your head at an invocation only as a show of respect, not because you believe but it's rude to act like you are not? I live beside a Muslim family, the old man is a bit... senile... I guess... and he occasionally thinks i am his son, he comes over at night and rifles though my car, sometimes he will hit the horn and insist i take him somewhere. I have had several long conversations about religion with him, the idea that this sweet old man would be intimidated because he is in the minority roasts my nuts a bit...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are plenty of people who would be intimidated, though. They are treated differently and see it every day, and would not want to bring even more scrutiny upon themselves. A huge failing of the current court IMO is that there are five of them who don't see this (though one of them should be much more familiar with it than the others), and seem to act as though if they don't experience something it's not real. Hence declarations that equate to racism being eradicated in the US. (I read just a few days ago that Scalia was incredulous that some people carry two cell phones, one for work and one for personal use. He just couldn't wrap his head around it, and that kind of societal cluelessness is scary.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since the OP specifically asks for opinions on the matter, I will state mine here:

People can pray as much as they like, and since prayer typically takes mere minutes, I wouldn't object if they do that during working hours (as much as I don't object people getting coffee or tea). However, prayer is a personal matter, and it should never be forced onto any non-religious people, or people of a different religion. Therefore, it cannot be a not a part of any official meeting. People can go pray in special rooms for prayer where they are not to be disturbed.

 

Prayer should obviously not be allowed before a meeting. It is completely irrelevant to the meeting.

 

In addition, I think Phi for All made a great comment, suggesting that the not everybody will participate in the prayer, which creates a situation where not everybody is equal. That is obviously very undesirable.

 

 

 

The content of the prayers is not significant as long as they do not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts, the court said in a 5-4 decision backed by its conservative majority. (source: article linked in the OP)

That quote shows that the prayer is not to be a public matter anyway (it is basically aimed at only the Christians), and therefore they might as well not do it in public at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

... However, prayer is a personal matter, and it should never be forced onto any non-religious people, or people of a different religion. Therefore, it cannot be a not a part of any official meeting. People can go pray in special rooms for prayer where they are not to be disturbed....

Couldn't agree with this bit more ... and weirdly there is pretty good biblical precedent for not starting meetings with public prayers

 

Matthew 6:5

 

Character - jesus
corner_tl.gif corner_tr.gif
tail.gif
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
corner_bl.gif corner_br.gif
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prayer should obviously not be allowed before a meeting. It is completely irrelevant to the meeting.

 

And I would add that, besides being irrelevant, it also sets a precedence of solidarity using a common link, their religion. It's like declaring "We're all of one mind" right before you vote on important issues where dissent might be in everyone's best interests. I don't see any way you could avoid biased votes.

 

And again, the biggest problem with all of that is that the religious folks see this as a strength instead of a danger. If you tried to argue in this way, they'd most likely claim they WANT to be of one mind as they lead their communities to prosperity, they don't understand how it could be bad to ask for their god's guidance in making their decisions.

A huge failing of the current court IMO is that there are five of them who don't see this (though one of them should be much more familiar with it than the others), and seem to act as though if they don't experience something it's not real.

 

This seems to be a failing among many religious people. I'm not alone in feeling that religion is perfectly OK as long as it's personal and not foisted upon those who don't want it. Yet many religious people feel that how others live their lives affects them personally, and they want to pass laws that will be applied to everyone based on the discrimination of those they don't agree with. Anti-black, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-contraceptive legislation is the sole providence of religious influence. If they aren't offended by you for who you are, they'll persecute you for trying to affect the cycle of the eggs your own body produces.

 

So, do they think of it that way when they eat potential baby chicks for breakfast, or are they just eggs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are plenty of people who would be intimidated, though. They are treated differently and see it every day, and would not want to bring even more scrutiny upon themselves. A huge failing of the current court IMO is that there are five of them who don't see this (though one of them should be much more familiar with it than the others), and seem to act as though if they don't experience something it's not real. Hence declarations that equate to racism being eradicated in the US. (I read just a few days ago that Scalia was incredulous that some people carry two cell phones, one for work and one for personal use. He just couldn't wrap his head around it, and that kind of societal cluelessness is scary.)

Citation for the curious: http://www.mediaite.com/online/roberts-scalia-surprised-some-people-own-more-than-one-cell-phone/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the rubber will meet the road when someone wants to open a meeting with a prayer that praises Allah. If that request is denied, or there are other problems, then I think this will have to be revisited.

This is my main concern in regards to mentioning specific sectarian prayers. As an atheist, I take the high road in regards to the general "God" in prayer - I recognize tradition in that sense and I don't get butt-hurt with this fiction. But, I know the people who are most energetic in regards to these prayers will be the first to fight any mention of Allah or other non-Jesus counterpart.

 

 

So Phi, you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray? A bias perhaps?

Yes, many just see it as part of their heritage. So, rejecting it is like rejecting their country, family and history. It becomes un-American.

 

My brain realizes that ultimately, the best answer would be a non-religious statement, like "We the people..." in place of Gods. But, my heart realizes that the culture isn't there yet. I would hope that they would at least use general prayers and recognize that other religious people get just as butt-hurt as they do in regards to their favorite stories.

 

It is a form of peer-pressure, so I do think its an important issue, but pragmatically, it isn't a battle worth fighting at the moment, IMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So Phi, you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray? A bias perhaps?

 

That's not a bias; that's just reading what they say they believe.

 

 

". If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."

"Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us."

"You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly."

 

Or were you asking about their bias?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's not a bias; that's just reading what they say they believe.

 

 

". If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."

"Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us."

"You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly."

 

Or were you asking about their bias?

Exactly what are you talking about John? Is that some scripture? If it is, do you take biblical words at face value as truth? I am not well versed in christian scripture. Is that meant as some form of insult or argument? Or some form of correlation I am missing?

 

My statement to Phi was just that. It was to him. There was or is no underlying purpose. Going out a bit far on that one. Besides, none of us need to be preached to if it was. Which is exactly what your response seems to be.

Edited by jduff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You asked two questions.

"you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray?"

and

"A bias perhaps?"

This is a discussion forum.

I answered them.

 

In reply to

"Is that some scripture?"
yes- sorry, I thought that was obvious.

"do you take biblical words at face value as truth?"
No, I think they are often farcically wrong, but I realise that some other people do believe them. I'd imagine that group of people include those who would "look down upon people who do not pray"- not least because their scripture (I cited some bits) tells them to.

 

 

Re.

"My statement to Phi was just that. It was to him."

Assuming your system is set up in the same way as mine, if you look at the top of the page there's an icon of an envelope.

That's the system for sending an individual a message.

The rest of the page is a discussion forum.

People may choose to comment on stuff posted here.

 

I'm curious; what message did you think I could have been preaching?

Edited by John Cuthber
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You asked two questions.

"you would believe that those that pray like that look down upon people who do not pray?"

and

"A bias perhaps?"

This is a discussion forum.

I answered them.

 

In reply to

"Is that some scripture?"

yes- sorry, I thought that was obvious.

"do you take biblical words at face value as truth?"

No, I think they are often farcically wrong, but I realise that some other people do believe them. I'd imagine that group of people include those who would "look down upon people who do not pray"- not least because their scripture (I cited some bits) tells them to.

 

 

Re.

"My statement to Phi was just that. It was to him."

Assuming your system is set up in the same way as mine, if you look at the top of the page there's an icon of an envelope.

That's the system for sending an individual a message.

The rest of the page is a discussion forum.

People may choose to comment on stuff posted here.

 

I'm curious; what message did you think I could have been preaching?

Thanks, forgot the rules for this place on the net.

 

So you believe because scripture the christian use is reason for them to look at others with discriminant view? I think it goes both ways from the looks of what I see here. I am not supporting either side.

I was reading a article on why the supreme court were in favor. According to what I read, it was based on the constitution. I do not remember where the article was. Even looked up my "History" to find it. I notice if you are godless or if you believe in such. The discriminant view applies to both sides. My own faith prevents me from siding with either :). Its better to just watch!

 

Perhaps the godless and the god bearing can find a common ground. Would make life much simpler. Would not have such articles as this being so important. My personal belief is you have two groups of people who have expectations that are in conflict. The point being,expectations are the reason for the conflict.

 

Another aspect of life has the same conflicts. Marriage :).

 

I think I will see how much farther both sides are willing to go.

 

As to the preaching statement. I was not sure if it was preaching or not. But it looked like something a preacher would say. I avoid them like a plague :). Just for that reason!

Edited by jduff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the rubber will meet the road when someone wants to open a meeting with a prayer that praises Allah. If that request is denied, or there are other problems, then I think this will have to be revisited.

 

I wonder if the folks opening their meetings with Christian prayers realize how much the SCOTUS is counting on them being tolerant of requests for prayer from other faiths?

 

From the SCOTUS decision:

“That nearly all of the congregations in town turned out to be Christian does not reflect an aversion or bias on the part of town leaders against minority faiths.”

 

 

Sure, just because you own the Walmart doesn't mean you don't encourage people to shop at Costco. ^_^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.