The Supreme Court decision on Greece, NY

by Neil Rickert

On Monday May 05, the US Supreme Court ruled that it is okay for the town of Greece, NY to open their meetings with prayer.  I’ve seen a number of blog posts that express unhappiness with this decision.

The court decision was what I had expected.  And I do not find it at all troubling.

Remembering back to my teenage years, when I was an evangelical Christian, I would not have wanted this decision.  As I would have seen it at that time, this kind of public prayer only debases prayer.  It teaches people that prayer is the reciting of meaningless mumbo-jumbo.

(The spell checker did not like “mumbo-jumbo”.  It turns out that it is a mainly British (and Australian) phrase that means roughly the same as “gibberish”.  So I have linked the wikipedia page.)

As a consequence, I do not see the court as having given anything of value to religion.

6 Comments to “The Supreme Court decision on Greece, NY”

  1. Interesting point, Neil. Perhaps it did not give anything of value to religion, but it does keep the door open for the continued intermingling of religion and government. Some towns were waiting on this ruling to make decisions on prayer as well as religious symbols place on gov’t property. It certainly seems like an endorsement of religion.


    • Here’s what I would really like to see:

      The announcement of the meeting states that the meeting begins at 7pm (or whenever). It also states that the meeting room will be closed at 6:50 pm, and re-opened at 6:55 pm. The unstated assumption would be that people could have their prayer time without interruption, but get it over before the meeting begins.


      • That’s an interesting idea. But it is still an endorsement of religion. Honestly, why is prayer necessary before a government meeting? Do we do this in the business world? Doesn’t this smack more of a power play?



  2. Mumbo-jumbo is also acceptable in Canada 🙂

    Maybe they should conclude each meeting with an episode of “Cosmos”.


  3. Good point — it can actually weaken doctrinal, exclusive religion. Interesting.


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