With tiresome predictability, the kangaroos of the Roberts Supreme Court have ruled that officials in Greece, New York may jabber Christian prayers to open monthly public sessions on government property, on grounds that such prayers are "history", not religion.

This continues an increasingly popular trend among crackpot judges and legislators, who shelter Christian shrines and observations on public property by declaring that they are "history", thus entirely secular, and therefore permissible.

Other signs of the trend?

The Oklahoma State Capital's Ten Commandments monument: “What will disqualify them has really nothing to do with Satan, as such. It’s that it has no historical significance for the State of Oklahoma,” said Rep. Wesselhoft. “The only reason why the Ten Commandments qualified is because at the Capitol, what we do is we make laws. We are lawmakers. Well, one of the earliest laws we have are the Ten Commandments. So therefore, it has historical significance.”

The Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capital: "The Chief Justice [Roberts], Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Thomas, concluded that the Establishment Clause allows the display of a monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments on the Texas State Capitol grounds. Reconciling the strong role played by religion and religious traditions throughout our Nation's history..."

The statue of Jesus erected on federal land at Whitefish Mountain: For many, [Judge] Christensen said, the statue is mostly “a historical reminder of those bygone days of sack lunches, ungroomed runs, rope tows, T-bars, leather ski boots and 210 cm. skis.”

The Christian Cross of Ground Zero : "Federal Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York ruled Thursday that display of the beams is permissible because they bear historical importance."

That's how it works. Religious symbols, shrines and prayers aren't religious. Heck no. They're historical.

Equipped with such "reason", legislative bodies and courts packed with Christian crackpots are excluding shrines to Islam, Hinduism and Satan, a monument to the 500 irreligious who died in the 9/11 attacks, and allowing Christian shrines and observances at city hall. Why? These other groups aren't part of "history" so their government may exclude them in the present.

The rest is a matter of getting the right crackpot judge to rubber stamp the whitewashing of the Constitution and grant "history" its special, privileged place.

The complete ruling is here.

Tags: Court, Supreme, government, history, prayer, secular

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So "history" now justifies tyranny of the majority, trumping the founding father's constitutionally instituted prescription for plurality. Also note (in the ruling) how legislative behavior now defines what's acceptable behavior for all communities.

So "history" now justifies tyranny of the majority, trumping the founding father's constitutionally instituted prescription for plurality. Also note (in the ruling) how legislative behavior now defines what's acceptable behavior for all communities.

Your government has always prayed to God-- "God save the United States and this Honorable Court!"-- so your praying government is not establishing that a monotheistic God exists, not establishing a personal God who involves Himself in human affairs, not establishing that God hears and answers prayers, and not establishing that your government officials are acting with God's magical powers on their side.

How could they be? That would be a government favoring religion over irreligion, theism over nontheism, monotheism over polytheism, a personal God over a deistic God, and (perhaps most disturbingly) a government that claims supernatural backing.

And they can't do that. Not according to MCCREARY V. ACLU of KY, which says the establishment clause means "the government may not favor one religion over another, or religion over irreligion."

The problem? Your government has always done it. That's the basis of this ruling.

"There are no de minimis violations of the Constitution – no constitutional harms so slight that the courts are obliged to ignore them. [...] These references [to God and religion] are not minor trespasses upon the Establishment Clause to which I turn a blind eye. Instead, their history, character, and context prevent them from being constitutional violations at all." - Justice O'Connor in Elk Grove v. Newdow

O'Connor's is the typical ruling. Flatly deny the violation and the slightest harm to anyone. Proclaim that the government is not favoring religion when it invokes religion. Supply no reasoning as to how this could possibly be the case. Call it "history".

The Roberts Court just did it again.

I have to wonder. What does the Supreme Court think is the difference between "history" and "long-standing injustice"?

If the recitation of prayers is secular and historical, then I would ask the religious nuts, what is the point?  If the prayers mean nothing from a religious point of view, then why say them?  

Are they saying that no one is receiving those spoken prayers and it's just lip service because of tradition?  I kinda like that.  I can't put my finger on it, but the supreme court saying prayer is pointless gives me hope.  Maybe because so many of the rulings they make are based on precedent. 

Have they now set a precedent that prayer is pointless in the court's eyes?  What effect will that have on future rulings, one day when the court evolves back to a more progressive mix of justices?

I was considering that, too. The ruling kinda sucks the religious justification out of the practice, at least in spirit.

The ruling kinda sucks the religious justification out of the practice, at least in spirit.

That's an ironic choice of words, but it's accurate. Yes, it has to be a total whitewash.

God, religion, and prayers can't actually be God, religion or prayers where government is concerned. They can only be secular, ceremonial, historical, and extra crispy. So the religious crackpots sitting on the benches rule accordingly to ensure the outcomes they want. It's not a TRUE resemblance to government sponsorship of a religious exercise. Religious references have LOST any significant religious content. It's all completely meaningless!

The dishonesty of the Supreme Court, time and again, is absolutely grotesque.

"It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency 'In God We Trust' has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise." - Aronow v. United States

"[These acts of] ceremonial deism [are] protected from Establishment Clause scrutiny chiefly because they have lost through rote repetition any significant religious content." - Lynch v. Donnelly (on 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance)

"Well, one of the earliest laws we have are the Ten Commandments."

Nice mix of singular and plural, Wesselhoft. And the irony that they would be installing graven images of their lord if they could. You know they are  that stupid.

I think they should display the Code of Hammurabi.  Would take a lot of granite though.

Sooooo history wins out...cool...does this mean I don't have to keep my slaves hidden in the basement anymore...slavery is historic after all.

Can we go back to women being second-class citizens now?  Remember that's historic too.

As this American Empire spirals downward toward just another historical footnote, I have less and less hope for the future our children and grand children will face. :(

How long will it be before the Supreme rules that labor camps for political dissidents are legal?

Johnny get your gun!

Sooooo history wins out...cool...does this mean I don't have to keep my slaves hidden in the basement anymore...slavery is historic after all.

That's the way it's going. Is it about religion? No way. It's about history. Is it about the law? Nope. It's about history. From the New York Times: "A Big Win for the Prayer Lobby":

"A final, crucial part of the strategy is to substitute history — or, more accurately, a particular mythologized version of history — for legal analysis. Here the A.D.F. and its allies have hit pay dirt in the Greece decision.

"Justice Kennedy invoked an earlier, highly problematic decision in the case of Marsh v. Chambers to suggest that the usual legal tests were “unnecessary” because the “history supported the conclusion” that the prayers were compatible with the Establishment Clause. It is, however, preposterous to say that something is constitutional simply because it’s been done in the past.

"The “history” here sustains a myth that early America had a single religion of “Christianity,” when, in fact, it was bitterly divided into antagonistic sects from the start. And many of America’s founders — James Madison, for example — were firmly opposed to such precedents of church-state entanglement as congressional chaplains.

"The assault by the religious right on the Establishment Clause has been unfolding for two decades, in a number of landmark cases. Under cover of pursuing “religious freedom,” it has already succeeded in inserting fundamentalist religion into parts of America’s public education system. With Greece v. Galloway, it has now expanded the reach of this novel and destructive interpretation of the Establishment Clause. It is part of a project to “restore” a version of America that never was, and never can be."

However, after reading the ruling it appears to me that the plaintiffs brought the wrong complaint to the court and failed to meet the requirement of the practice being a violation of the wording of the First Amendment.  Oh well maybe next time.

That was fairly predictable. Had they got in the habit of ruling against these annoyances, it might have been one of the few things that might have prompted a Constitutional Convention.

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