web analytics
August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Legal Fight against Public Prayer Dates Back to Childhood Carols

A lifelong exposure to public Christian prayer drove a Jewish woman to sue a small New York town for violating freedom of religion. She won the case, but the Supreme Court might overrule the decision.
By:

Susan Galloway (right), a Jew, and atheist Linda Stephens are behind the fight in the Supreme Court over public prayer.

Susan Galloway (right), a Jew, and atheist Linda Stephens are behind the fight in the Supreme Court over public prayer.
Photo Credit: Catholic.org

The Town of Greece is arguing that the ban on prayers should be limited to those that proselytize or defame other faiths. If the Supreme Court agrees, sectarian public prayer would be permitted.

Jewish organizations were heartened that during oral arguments, the lawyer for Galloway and Stephens, Douglas Laycock, moved the court to consider a different issue: Whether a publicly attended town board meeting should be considered as equivalent to a legislature.

In legislature cases, the argument goes, the affected parties — the lawmakers — willingly entered a system with existing rules and traditions that could include prayer. In a town board meeting, the affected parties are ordinary citizens going about their daily business.

“[The Marsh case] is adults elected by their constituents to go into a legislature where there’s a history of prayers being offered at every session,” said Michael Lieberman, the ADL’s Washington counsel. “This is different. The town council is the place where ordinary citizens must go to get a zoning variance or complain about cable service.”

For Galloway, it was a thrill to see Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan challenge the Town of Greece’s lawyer, Thomas Hungar, by imagining a hypothetical in which the court proceedings had been preceded by the same benediction recited at Greece’s board meetings.

“Suppose that as we began this session of the Court, the chief justice had called a minister up to the front of the courtroom, facing the lawyers, maybe the parties, maybe the spectators,” Kagan said. “And the minister had asked everyone to stand and to bow their heads in prayer and the minister said the following: He said, we acknowledge the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. We draw strength from His resurrection. Blessed are you who has raised up the Lord Jesus. You who will raise us in our turn and put us by His side. The members of the Court who had stood responded amen, made the sign of the cross, and the chief justice then called your case. Would that be permissible?”

“I don’t think so, your honor,” said Hungar, who then attempted to distinguish between legislative prayer and prayer in a courtroom.

Galloway believes that Kagan seized on that account of a Town of Greece prayer opening because she also is Jewish and has faced similar incidents in the course of her career.

“We’ve all had experiences that have been difficult,” Galloway said. “These are things common to Jewish people.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Legal Fight against Public Prayer Dates Back to Childhood Carols”

  1. These are indeed experiences to Jewish people. And I have personally been set upon by every way as her Christian neighbors has her, and like her I never got help either from other Jews afraid to make waves. Every prayer has one purpose–to be a religious test usually perpetrated by Christians who are evangelizing by nature and sorting out cult members from ‘outsiders.’ There is no Christian basis for public prayer. It is the same ‘local’ ploy used by Christians during the Middle Ages to hunt out non-Christians for destruction. Here it is to destroy Jews and others civilly and to marginalize them in numerous ways. Christians do this in small towns because they think local populations will not resist out of the reach of more American people. Good luck Ms. Galloway. Tear them a new one.

  2. Earl W. Littlefield Jr says:

    Let's send these females to Mecca to work on public prayer problems……

  3. Bruce Killey says:

    Well now this is interesting. Does the Jewish support for 'freedom from religion" extend to the nation of Israel, or only in nations where they are a minority? A sincere question.

  4. Chaiya Eitan says:

    When I was in school and that name was mentioned I simply didn't say it. This is part of the tradition of the U.S. By having Jews associated with this movement to ban the singing of Christmas carols in public places could create a backlash against Jews.

  5. Bill Dunn says:

    Where they don't live and aren't citizens? Your suggestion makes little sense. And "these females?" Have some latent misogyny, perhaps?

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Dr. Joe Uziel, codirector of the excavation from the Israel Antiquities Authority, sitting atop the stepped structure from the Second Temple period.
Second Temple-Era Podium May Be Discovery in City of David
Latest News Stories
Dr. Joe Uziel, codirector of the excavation from the Israel Antiquities Authority, sitting atop the stepped structure from the Second Temple period.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has made an exciting announcement: A 2,000-year-old podium may have been found in the City of David section of the Old City of Jerusalem. A unique stepped structure exposed on the street ascending from the ‘Siloam Pool’ to the Temple Mount is raising questions among the researchers at IAA. The […]

View of the Palestinian Authority city of Jenin in Samaria, at night.

The first official Turkish delegation to Israel in five years arrives to discuss a development project in Jenin.

Brooklyn's "Vote No on the Nuclear Deal" rally organizers singing Ani Ma'amim. (L to R) Cantor Shlomie Rabin, Councilmember David Greenfield, Jeffrey Davis (back row), Kalman Yager (back row), Chanina Sperlin, State Sen. Jesse Hamilton, Zaki Tamir, Yaacov Berhman, Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Aug. 26, 2015.

Brooklyn politicians and community leaders called on Cong. members to vote down the Nuclear Iran deal.

Dr. Ben Carson (left) at the Western Wall in December 2014.

Both Carson and Trump are solidly behind Israel, but their real drawing card is that they are not politicians.

Oregon’s Jeff Merkley announced he is backing the nuclear deal, leaving Obama only three shy of a veto-proof majority.

The gas field is far larger than those discovered off Israel’s coast and will supply Egypt with gas for decades.

Israel’s Elbit Systems has racked up two more sales, this time by its cyber security subsidiary Cyberbit to a European police force and an African enforcement agency. Elbit, listed on NASDAQ, did not disclose the amount of the sales. It set up the Cyberbit subsidiary earlier this year to include the cyber and intelligence divisions […]

The regime’s Fars [Read “Farce”] News Agency reported that three Israelis and Jordanians were killed.

Jaffa port is a nice little port with a pleasant promenade to walk around on.

Barenboim rejected from Iran because he’s a “Zionist”. The irony is overwhelming.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, DNC chair, allegedly blocked a DNC resolution supporting the Iran Deal.

Dr. Sacks was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, neurologists.

Arab readers of the Arabic version of Aljazeera responded with astonishment at the restraint shown by an armed Israeli soldier, who was filmed while a group of female villagers physically assaulted him during a rally.

Palestinian Arab terrorists shot and wounded an Israeli driver on the road near Kedumim.

Firefighters in Galilee were able to stop a brush fire on Sunday from spreading into a wildfire.

An Israeli woman has allegedly flown to Turkey to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS.

More Articles from JTA

More than 20 cars and buildings in a Jewish community in north London were vandalized with swastikas. The Nazi symbol was drawn on approximately 27 cars in the Osbaldeston Road area of Stoke Newington on Sunday night, The Daily Mail reported. An unnamed 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the vandalism Tuesday. The neighborhood […]

New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on the Jewish community to attend the funeral of an assassinated New York police officer. “The brave men and women of the NYPD risk their lives every day to protect us. We value them and stand with them,” Hikind, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement […]

“Move Jew” scrawled on a Philadelphia home and slurs written on a synagogue and 10 garages in Chicago.

The Nazis nearly destroyed the 17th synagogue.

Cuba has “the largest pool of untapped baseball talent in the world, and Major League Baseball may tap and leave Cuba dry.

Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez has accepted an official Jewish godson for the first time in the country’s history to help counter legend of death to a seventh son. She described in seven tweets her meeting with her new godson, Yair Tawil, a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch family. He was adopted as a godson under a […]

A fundraising campaign started quietly by two first graders two years ago to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease just passed the $1 million mark.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/legal-fight-against-public-prayer-dates-back-to-childhood-carols/2013/11/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: