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.
The plaintiff in the precedent setting US Supreme Court case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, recently developed and adopted guidelines in choosing the person or people who could give invocations at the start of their meetings. Unfortunately it looks like the town ignored the courts prohibition on discrimination. The guidelines seem to exclude the nonreligious from being chosen to lead their pre-meeting invocations.
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.