MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 15, 2014

Prayer ruling may invite challenges

A ruling by the United States Supreme Court that Christian prayer before local council meetings is constitutional may create more legal challenges than it solves.

The high court recently ruled in a 5-4 decision that Christian prayer is in line with longstanding national traditions.

The court ruled that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as it does not denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts, according to The Associated Press.

The court relied on a 1983 decision that states prayer is part of the nation’s fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion.

It’s true that Christian prayer is a part of our nation’s values.

We know the value of prayer and its place in every believer’s life.

But if the court literally meant that only Christian prayer is permitted before a government body, then the court itself is allowing governmental bodies to choose Christian prayer over all others. Isn’t that skirting a fine line between carrying on a tradition and establishing one recognized religion?

If the court meant any prayer, then that opens the door for non-Christian religious leaders to ask the local councils if they may lead the opening prayer. If councilors say no, that certainly sounds like it is denigrating non-Christians by agreeing to only one accepted form of prayer.

Wouldn’t a moment of silence be more inclusive and allow for each of us to converse with the maker of our choice — the foundation of religious freedom?

Court justices may feel they upheld the local governments’ ability to continue their traditional ways, but it seems as if more challenges will occur before the issue is finally settled.

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