COMMENTARY: There’s little to celebrate in Greece v. Galloway prayer decision

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The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy is president of Interfaith Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom for all Americans regardless of faith or belief. Photo courtesy Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications

The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy is president of Interfaith Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom for all Americans regardless of faith or belief. Photo courtesy Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications

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WASHINGTON (RNS) Every time we submit a sacred act to a civic body, and seek a ruling on its appropriateness in a diverse public, we allow others who are not thinking theologically to compromise the most sacred aspects of our religious practices.

  • Atheist Max

    The Supreme Court is a disgrace to America.

    The Establishment clause: “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion”
    How dare the Supreme Court violate the clear directive of the Constitution.

    The court went further and said, “prayers must meet its definition of civil standards.”

    This is ignorant nonsense.
    It is like telling people to play with matches without allowing them to bring a fire extinguisher.

    Simply telling me that I must acknowledge the presence of a ‘god’ in my town meeting is itself an uncivil act. I see God as a genocidal tyrant and if he exists he has no place in my town meeting. Keep your God in church and AT YOUR HOME!

    The Atheists and Agnostics are absolutely being cut out.
    I am therefore being forbidden to say something “uncivil” like:

    Praise Darwin!
    Praise Evolution!
    Praise Science!


  • Atheist Max


    The Religious nuts have no clue what they have unleashed.

  • Atheist Max

    One more addendum:
    The Freedom from Religion Foundation should now challenge SCOTUS on what qualifies as a “civil standards.”

    Invoking Yahweh, The Genocidal God of Rape, Slavery and Human Sacrifice
    in any public prayer should be forbidden as it should fit the sort of ‘incivility’
    that SCOTUS has outlawed.

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  • GraHog

    I am a Wiccan. I was a Councilwoman among 5 Christians, 1 Jew and me. One night they turned to me (still in the broom closet) assuming I was a Christian and asked me to say the invocation. Blessed Bast I was prepared. I couldn’t say “Dear Lord” and leave out The Goddess. I began with “Dear Creator” allowing everyone to fill in their blank and proceeded to ask for guidance and justice in our decisions in our public entrusted obligations-plus a bit more. No one’s “feelings” were hurt and it didn’t denigrate into a religious discussion.

    I believe before any public discussion the participants show be reminded of their obligation to “do the right thing” and park their personal opinions at the door.

    Had I been brave enough, my prayer would have been: Dear Lord and Lady. We come to you tonight knowing we are entrusted with making decisions affecting our community. Guide us with your light and let us not forget the trust placed in us. Let us protect against self-interest, the interests of greed and stand before you in full knowledge that our decisions will affect human lives, the animals that call it home, the plants that nourish them and us and the land that supports us all. Let us not make a decision which would harm any. I call on the 4 quarters for protection. So mote it be.

    And then I would have sprinkled some salt for purity and protection from evil.

    Don’t think that would have gone over well.

    As for a true prayer at a public event, I would have been put out had it ended, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”.

    Whatever you want to call it-invocation or prayer-some words should be said to hopefully remind people they are there not for themselves but to govern.

  • joe bailey hyden

    Mr. Gaddy is not theologian and not a legal scholar; rather, he is a politician; and likely would make a nice neighbor.

    But under his personal, private religious theories, prayer would be prohibited at the presidential Inaugural, would call for the re-writing of the Inaugural speeches of President Kennedy and every other President, would prohibit President Obama from closing his speeches with “God Bless America”, would have prevented prayer at the national memorial service after 9/11 and would have prevented the message by Billy Graham.
    Both Mr Gaddy and the Supreme Court minority would do well to read “The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction” by Professor Akhil Reed Amar of Yale

    joe bailey hyden

  • Rick Erwin

    Darwin was a curious man using crude investigative methods and developing theories which have subsequently proven untenable and untestable. You can praise him if you wish however it is similar to celebrating the flat earth theory.

    Evolution means what? Origins? No honest scientist examining the facts buys into it, but it’s popular. Go ahead, praise it… whatever it is.

    Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of “testable” explanations and predictions about the universe.
    True science is the discovery of what the Creator created. So, I suggest you praise the Creator rather than His creation.