I thought I’d also add to the commentary about the recent US Supreme Court decision about allowing prayer at town meetings. The excuse that the conservative judges used to allow this nonsense is no more than “we’ve always done it so that makes it always okay”. If each state wants to have its own rules that ignore the Establishment Clause:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Which means that
those who argued that slavery was okay since it’s always been around
that child labor was okay since its always been around
that women being considered property or second class citizens was okay since it’s always been around
were right per Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Thomas and Alito and everyone else who supports this decision.
Gee, they should be so “proud”. As has been noted, these justices only consider the speech they agree with to be worthy of “free speech.”. The rest of us? We’re less than American citizens if we dare to insist on our rights.
Religion depends on arrogance, coercion and fear: arrogance that one religion is the only right one; coercion in the idea that only one religion produces “good” people and fear that one will be excluded if one doesn’t follow the group. That is exactly what these government sanctioned prayers do.
Addendum: If one reads the opinion by Justice Kennedy, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-696_4f57.pdf one can see that Kennedy does a good job of showing that prayer is essentially worthless, by claiming it is only for “ceremony” aka tradition. Unfortunately, for Justice Kennedy, the very nature of religion is to be intolerant and to claim that one group of people has the “truth” and all others will die or be damned to eternal torture for not having such “truth”. No one is claiming that prayer should be forbidden. If people need to pray to feel better about themselves, let them do so, but they do not have the right to do so in public and expect “respect” from others. I would ask that any theists who read this blog post and feel the need to respond to consider how they would act if a religion that they did not agree with were to give required prayers at the beginning of each meeting they went to . Should they be required to be “respectful” or should religion simply be left out of a venue where even the conservatives justices claim it is just a formality based on tradition and not belief? Or are they willing to admit that they do want to force others to obey their religion and that they do want a theocracy?