(RNS) — The Satanic Temple says it was recently recognized as a church by the IRS. The group, which is nontheistic and argues religion can be 'divorced' from superstition, has said it should have the same rights and protections as other religious groups.
(RNS) — A prayer that mentioned Jesus 13 times — given just before the swearing-in of a Muslim state legislator — has caused controversy in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
(RNS) The move comes after a representative from the Satanic Temple was approved to say a prayer, or invocation, before a council meeting scheduled for Feb. 17.
(RNS) Greece, N.Y., the city at the heart of last May's Supreme Court ruling on sectarian prayer at public meetings, issued new rules for giving invocations that may exclude atheists.
(RNS) “I am going to ask the council to understand the principle that this country was founded on,” said Dan Courtney, a member of the Atheist Community of Rochester. “That the government was founded by the people and it needs to represent all the people regardless of their religious beliefs.”
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.
STANFORD, Calif. (RNS) While the Supreme Court decision allowing sectarian prayer at government meetings was a blow to secular organizations, it may also lead to some unlikely alliances.
(RNS) The heart of future litigation will likely be whether the governmental prayer is sufficiently coercive or proselytizing, a point on which, in this case, the court split.
(RNS) Just because sectarian prayers are constitutional, said University of Notre Dame law professor Richard W. Garnett, doesn't mean policies like those of Greece, N.Y. "are wise or welcoming."
WASHINGTON (RNS) The 5-4 decision in favor of the any-prayer-goes policy in the town of Greece, N.Y., avoided two alternatives that the justices clearly found abhorrent: having government leaders parse prayers, or outlawing them altogether.
(RNS) Most voters, even unbelievers, favor allowing generic prayer at public meetings.
(RNS) Yes, Pope Francis dominated the headlines for 2013. But he wasn't the only big religion story to receive front-page treatment.
WASHINGTON (RNS) "Give me an example of a prayer that would be acceptable to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists,” Justice Samuel Alito asked the lawyer representing two women who did not like Christian prayers at town meetings. “Hindus. Give me an example of a prayer. Wiccans, Baha'i.”
WASHINGTON (RNS) Starting in 1999, two-thirds of prayers offered at the opening of the Greece Town Council in upstate New York invoked "Jesus" or "the Holy Spirit," and pastors also asked those present to pray with them and recite the Lord’s Prayer.