(reprinted from www.rabbigoldberg.blogspot.org)
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court decided in a split decision to keep intact its perceived understanding of permitting sectarian prayer in civic meetings. Most of the American Jewish world is concerned.
For instance, Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued this statement: “We are deeply disappointed by today’s Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway, upholding sectarian prayer before a legislative session. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that requiring invocations be nonsectarian would call on the legislatures sponsoring these prayers and the courts to intervene and ‘act as supervisors and censors of religious speech.’ Yet, Justice Kennedy did suggest there were limits to such prayers, among them: denigrating non-believers or religious minorities, threatening damnation, or preaching conversion — leaving courts in exactly the same role as line-drawers.The record has shown that the overwhelming majority of prayers offered were Christian. That is why we were pleased to join an amicus brief to the Court, opposing the constitutionality of the town of Greece’s practices, along with a diverse array of faith and religiously-affiliated groups.”
Would I prefer the Court to have ruled differently? Yes. Am I surprised it did not? No. Futhermore, its decision does not bother me for three reasons.