Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Greater Phoenix Chapter

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Church State Issues

Prayer ruling: Freedom of religion, not from it

May 6, 2014

Arizona Republic

Joanna Allhands just doesn't get it.

"Freedom of religion" also means "freedom from religion" for those of us who don't believe in the supernatural. And of course that means "freedom from religion" in government.

When you think your "freedom of religion" means you can use the government to force your religion on others, you are practicing the government tyranny that caused the Founders to write the First Amendment.


Prayer ruling: Freedom of religion, not from it

Joanna Allhands, digital opinions editor | azcentral.com 7:45 a.m. MST May 6, 2014

We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

"That the First Congress provided for the appointment of chaplains only days after approving language for the First Amendment demonstrates that the Framers considered legislative prayer a benign acknowledgment of religion's role in society." [And I suspect the writers of the First Amendment had a heart attack when they found about that]

Yeah, prayers might offend some folks. Lots of things offend us. Doesn't mean they're coercing us into a religion. [I disagree with that. When government rulers have prayers in their government entity that is to show us that the Gods of the government rulers having the prayers are the only, true, correct Gods]

"In their declarations in the trial court, respondents stated that the prayers gave them offense and made them feel excluded and disrespected. Offense, however, does not equate to coercion. Adults often encounter speech they find disagreeable ... "

Requiring prayers that refer to a general god or higher power is worse than inviting people of all faiths to say whatever they want, even if their language offends some people. [They shouldn't be requiring ANY prayers - period. Separation of church and state means no prayers in government!!!!]

"To hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force the legislatures that sponsor prayers and the courts that are asked to decide these cases to act as supervisors and censors of religious speech, a rule that would involve government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town's current practice of neither editing or approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact." [Yes I agree. And for that reason we should not have ANY prayers in government!!!!]

So, yeah, some people might go from praying to preaching. But as long as all of the speakers don't do that, it's fine.

"If the course and practice over time shows that the invocations denigrate nonbelievers or religious minorities, threaten damnation, or preach conversion, many present may consider the prayer to fall short of the desire to elevate the purpose of the occasion and to unite lawmakers in their common effort. [And of course that is why we shouldn't have prayers in government] That circumstance would present a different case than the one presently before the Court."

There's a difference, after all, between ceremonial prayers and other expressions of faith. [That's rubbish!!!! Government rulers only have prayers to Gods they worship. I have never heard of government prayers to Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy]

" … legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of 'God save the United States and this honorable Court' at the opening of this Court's sessions. It is presumed that the reasonable observer is acquainted with this tradition and understands that its purposes are to lend gravity to public proceedings and to acknowledge the place religion holds in the lives of many private citizens, not to afford government an opportunity to proselytize or force truant constituents into the pews." [That's rubbish - The Constitution demands separation of church and State and that should mean NO PRAYER in government]