Today, the Supreme Court finally weighed in on the hotly debated Town of Greece VS. Galloway case, determining that public meetings can start with “religion specific-prayer” (i.e. “In Jesus’ name …”). The case started in the little town of Greece, New York, where city officials have been starting meetings with prayer for some time. A few people in the town took issue with the practice, and the case has been boiling ever since, with both sides saying their religious rights are on the line. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority sided with Greece, saying that Town Hall meetings can start with prayer—falling in line with both public support and the White House. It does not, however, square away with the views of Justice Kagan, who offered a strongly worded dissent:
…Greece’s Board did nothing to recognize religious diversity: In arranging for clergy members to open each meeting, the Town never sought (except briefly when this suit was filed) to involve, accommodate, or in any way reach out to adherents of non-Christian religions. So month in and month out for over a decade, prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits. In my view, that practice does not square with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share in her government.