Tag: ceremonial deism

January 27, 2016 / Courts
screencap of Pastor B.J. Van Aman, Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, and Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville with head bowed in prayer
Pastor B.J. Van Aman of the Pickerington Baptist Temple, Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, and Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville with head bowed in prayer in the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday January 26, 2016

Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R) cut off the opening prayer, in the Ohio House of Representatives, Tuesday, after it went past 5 minutes in length. In reviewing the rules for a prayer opening the legislature, it’s clear the prayer should have been stopped much sooner for violating court advised guidelines and not just for length.

January 3, 2016 / Courts
October 2, 2014 / Courts
photo of Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the members of the conservative block on the United States Supreme Court, gave a speech Wednesday where he seemed to be supporting the separation of church and state. Which is odd because he has been one of the justices who wants to limit the scope of the 1st amendment so narrowly that it really means nothing. Is Justice Scalia warming to separation of church and state?

August 25, 2014 / Courts
May 14, 2014 / Courts
City council members praying before a meeting

The recent US Supreme Court decision, Town Of Greece, New York v. Galloway, opened the door to ‘legislative’ prayer that can be said at the beginning of a government meeting or event. Although the court said that government can’t proscribe the content of such prayers, it did give some guidelines on what prayer would pass a constitutional test. Some nonreligious groups are creating programs to offer people who would give nonreligious ‘prayers’. Some conservative governments have taken the court decision as a green light to only allow Christian prayers. This issue is far from being solved.

In the court decision, handed down on May 5th, Justice Kennedy wrote:

May 6, 2014 / Courts
Religion in government is okay if it is generic

In a 5-4 decision on Monday, the US Supreme Court said that the Town of Greece New York could open their town council meetings with a religious prayer. The majority on the court held that legislative prayers were not unconstitutional because they were traditional acts performed at government meetings. We’ve seen this argument before, it has been called Ceremonial Deism and it means a civic religion divorced of any specific religious meaning. I would think that Christians would be very upset that the court considers their religion ‘generic’. Just because Ceremonial Deism has been a tradition doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful.

One argument the court used to rule in favor of the Town of Greece was the old argument from tradition: