Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Public Meetings - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Supreme Court Upholds Prayer at Public Meetings

Posted: Updated:
(NBC News) -- Government meetings can include an opening prayer without running afoul of the Constitution, the Supreme Court said Monday.

The court ruled in favor of the town of Greece, N.Y., a Rochester suburb that has opened its monthly public meetings with a Christian prayer since 1999. Two residents, one Jewish and the other atheist, claimed that because the prayers were almost always Christian, the practice amounted to government endorsement of a single faith.

The Supreme Court last considered the issue of government prayer in 1983, ruling that the Nebraska legislature did not violate the Constitution by opening its sessions with a prayer from a Presbyterian minister.

But the challengers in the New York case argued that the meetings of the Greece town board were different, because members of the public who sought action from the board were legally required to attend and were not simply part of a passive audience — drawing attention to themselves if they declined to participate in a prayer that was contrary to their beliefs.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions. "The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers," Kennedy said.

Justice Elena Kagan, in a dissent for the court's four liberal justices, said the case differs significantly from the 1983 decision because "Greece's town meetings involve participation by ordinary citizens, and the invocations given — directly to those citizens — were predominantly sectarian in content."

The town had the support of 23 states, 119 members of the U.S. Senate and House, and the Obama administration. They noted that the tradition of legislative prayer began with the very first session of Congress.

  • Latest NewsMore>>

  • Fetus Found In Bathroom Of North Texas High School

    Fetus Found In Bathroom Of North Texas High School

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:19 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:19:05 GMT
    (WFAA) DALLAS -- Police are searching for a student who delivered a fetus in a bathroom at Woodrow Wilson High School."Obviously, this is very serious. It's very troubling," said DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. "But we will work through this as a school district and a school community."The Dallas Independent School District said a maintenance worker found the fetus after being alerted by students. The second floor of the school, where the bathroom is located, was closed down around 2:30 p.m., s...More >>
    (WFAA) DALLAS -- Police are searching for a student who delivered a fetus in a bathroom at Woodrow Wilson High School."Obviously, this is very serious. It's very troubling," said DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander. "But we will work through this as a school district and a school community."The Dallas Independent School District said a maintenance worker found the fetus after being alerted by students. The second floor of the school, where the bathroom is located, was closed down around 2:30 p.m., s...More >>
  • Homeless Veteran Numbers Spike Locally, Despite National Numbers Dropping

    Homeless Veteran Numbers Spike Locally, Despite National Numbers Dropping

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:27:35 GMT
    (KCEN) – While the homeless veteran count is dropping nationwide, Killeen and Temple are seeing a spike in the number of homeless veterans – and it's not just individual veterans. “We're seeing more homeless families, and we've seen an increase in that over the last few months because of the downsizing of the military,” Paula Wood said. “It's very sad to look a family in the eye and say do you have a friend or family member you can stay with because it's going to take a month to get you re-ho...More >>
    (KCEN) – While the homeless veteran count is dropping nationwide, Killeen and Temple are seeing a spike in the number of homeless veterans – and it's not just individual veterans. “We're seeing more homeless families, and we've seen an increase in that over the last few months because of the downsizing of the military,” Paula Wood said. “It's very sad to look a family in the eye and say do you have a friend or family member you can stay with because it's going to take a month to get you re-ho...More >>
  • Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Part of Texas Abortion Law

    Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Part of Texas Abortion Law

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:33:42 GMT
    (NBC) -- A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new restrictions that would have left just seven abortion facilities open in Texas by Sept. 1; there are currently 19 providers in Texas, according to th...More >>
    (NBC) -- A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013. The ruling stops new restrictions that would have left just seven abortion facilities open in Texas by Sept. 1; there are currently 19 providers in Texas, according to th...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KCEN. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.