SCOTUS Allows Prayer at Town Meetings

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that it was permissible to open public town meetings with a prayer from a “chaplain of the month.” Writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy said “ceremonial prayer is but a recognition that... many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond that authority of government to alter or define.” The case concerned town meetings in Greece, New York. Town officials said all faiths were welcomed, but most of the chaplains were of Christian denominations. The plaintiffs argued people were forced to listen to sectarian preachings to participate in local government. Writing for the dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said the meetings ran in contrast to “the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share of her government."