WASHINGTON D.C. – Some folks are saying ‘ahem’ and others are saying ‘amen’ to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that it`s ok for city leaders to open council meetings with prayer. The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 monday that prayers at city council meetings do not violate the constitution, even if they stress a particular religion.
Houstonian Synthia Walton agrees. “I think that’s great because it’s just like saying the pledge of allegiance in high school.”
“Whatever prayer that may be,” Nikki Araguz Loyd says, “perhaps you’re agnostic and don’t wish to be involved, I think it’s about respecting each other.”
The court’s ruling says that city council meetings can incorporate religious prayers as long as they don’t proselytize or denigrate folks of other religions.
It’s a case folks in League City have been watching closely.
“Prayer was always item two on the agenda,” Mayor Tim Paulissen says. “Now it’s technically outside the agenda, we say the prayer and then we gavel the meeting.”
Last summer the Freedom From Religion Foundation challenged League City for opening their council meetings with prayer. Mayor Paulissen says the Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for folks of all religions. The question the rest of us have to answer is where the line between freedom of speech ends and religious inequality begins.