After SCOTUS Ruling, Sectarian Prayer Quickly Becomes Christian-Only Prayer

RNS-GREECE-GALLOWAY dThe blood from the gaping wound inflicted by the Supreme Court on the First Amendment with its Town of Greece v. Galloway ruling, was not even dry yet, when Roanoke County Supervisor Al Bedrosian proposed excluding non-Christian prayer from pre-meeting invocations.

The Roanoke Times reports Bedrosian’s reasoning, if it can be called that:

I think America, pretty much from Founding Fathers on, I think we have to say more or less that we’re a Christian nation with Christian ideology, If we’re a Christian nation, then I would say that we need to move toward our Christian heritage.

Satanists are already lining up to offer prayers to Beelzebub, but according to Bedrosian, “The freedom of religion doesn’t mean that every religion has to be heard.”

Um, yes, it really does. That’s what “freedom” means. Everyone has it. Equally. Period. The First Amendment guarantees it.

Contrary to Bedrosian, contrary to Tony Perkins, religious freedom is owned in equal quantity by every American.

He says, “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

Well, that’s the point. You don’t. There is no line. All religions are equal before the law, the only place where such distinctions matter.

If Bedrosian is free to think that his religious is more equal than others, atheists are equally free to say no religion at all matters, and Satanists that their religion is equal to, or better than, Bedrosian’s.

And of course, Bedrosian is wrong about the whole “Christian nation” thing as well. The Founding Fathers never said, or even implied, such a thing, and Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli is explicit in its denial of the United States as a Christian nation:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

It was such a small step from allowing government-sponsored prayer to excluding non-Christians, and it is an equally small step from excluding non-Christians to excluding the wrong type of Christians. We have already seen Rick Santorum say that mainline Protestants are not really Christian:

[W]e look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.

It won’t be long, with that sort of thinking in place, before your average ELCA-type Lutheran finds he is not allowed to pray before a town council meeting. If, as Santorum says, mainline Protestants are under the influence of Satan, their prayers will be no more welcome than those of Satanists.

Mainstream Christians need to take notice. Much is made of a supposed “Judeo-Christian” tradition (by Religious Right figures like Rick Santorum), but in suggestions like this, one sees how little the “Judeo” means to conservative Christianity, because not only are Satanic prayers excluded, and Muslim, and Hindu and Pagan – but Jewish.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has sent a letter to the board, advising it that their proposal violates the Supreme Court’s May 5 ruling:

In vowing to discriminate against non-Christians, Supervisor Bedrosian ignores what the Supreme Court actually said in Galloway,” the letter says. “Although upholding the challenged prayer policy, the Court also made clear that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits legislative bodies from excluding non-Christian prayer givers or otherwise discriminating in selection.

But then they were told, along with everyone else. that allowing sectarian prayer at all violated the First Amendment.

Their attitude then was “so what?” The Supreme Court agreed: so what, indeed?

The First Amendment has already been violated by the Cinco de Mayo Massacre, and the Religious Right would violate it again – and again, to get its way, and there is no guarantee the Supreme Court would not simply wink at them as they do.

It is no secret at all that the Religious Right from its inception has desired to impose a pseudo-Christian theocracy on the American people based on a heretical atrocity they insist is orthodox Christianity, but one which imposes a weaponized Jesus in place of his actual teachings.

This is precisely what the Founding Fathers sought to forbid.

As AU executive director Barry Lynn said, “This is why the decision is so troubling, and I can imagine we will be seeing a lot of ‘Christians only’ talk from local boards.”

They will be spreading like hell-fire.

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28 Replies to “After SCOTUS Ruling, Sectarian Prayer Quickly Becomes Christian-Only Prayer”

  1. Gee, who couldn’t see this coming from more than a mile away? If people like Bedrosian have their way and deem that only “Christian” prayer is to be allowed, how long will it before it ends up in court? If it does end up in litigation and goes to the USSC, how will the USSC handle it? Time will tell.

  2. Wow . The Cultists are really in great form. Kauft nicht beim Juden will be translated as don´t buy at any non-Christian store, the gas chambers they´re planning will be the only place of any equality.

    I was born in Germany in 1941. I really don´t want my history repeating itself.

  3. The Roberts court will go down in history as the second greatest step toward the down fall of the USA. The first step was Ronnie REAGAN.

  4. I recommend everyone go to this site, download the free PDF’s, and read them:

    It is clear that our society has, since the inception of the Reagan era and with increasing vehemence since Bush II, been getting retooled for totalitarianism. We now even know the names of some of the engineers.

  5. I still say that if religious sects want to play in politics they should no longer have tax exempt status. They are reaping a good portion of the benefits for their benefits but are contributing nothing as far as taxes go.

  6. I’m a healthy Baby Boomer from Michigan. I hope I live long enough to see our country return to sanity.

  7. Millions of Americans have been brainwashed and propagandized going back 30+ years starting with Reagan. Repubs are masters of marketing.
    Many repubs vote their hate. The next 2 years will be pure hell if we can’t get out the vote in 2014.

  8. As far as Santorum goes, he is Roman Catholic, rigidly Roman Catholic. He views Protestantism as a schism. And the Protestants know it. He is unelectable, the Christian far right is nearly all Protestant, and they will not hold their noses and vote in such a partisan Christian, even though they themselves are partisan. This is not like Kennedy, people liked Kennedy. Santorum will be shuffled right out of the nomination, just like last time.

  9. I’m so glad you linked to The Authoritarians. Probably one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. After reading it, I now look at people in a different way. Once you’ve identified an authoritarian, it gives you a window into their worldview. Then you can decide to avoid those people like the plague.

  10. Sorry to rain on your parade or shatter your hope, but we’re still knee-deep in the Reagan legacy doodoo. As boomers, we have to keep working toward the sanity goal, but sadly, I don’t think we’ll live long enough “to see our country return to sanity.” Theocracy is a huge threat and there’s enough elected nuts who clearly don’t understand the Constitution. Then you have the Koch’s with all their $$ and crazy, selfish ideas.

  11. The same thing happened when they tried to use public money to set up “Christian” schools in Louisiana.

    Everything was fine until the local Muslims demanded and EQUAL amount of money for their Mosque.

    The whole idea was thrown out then the Village Idiots finally figured out what the word EQUAL
    really means.

  12. Wow-these guys live in alternate universes don’t they? Freedom of religion does not mean you can exclude you idiots. Shari’a law for Christians.

  13. Barry Goldwater the LAST SANE republican warned us about the religious zealots!! he knew america was jammed to the rafters with truly mental ill citizens. The GOP basically said to HELL with Goldwater!! we need votes! whether it’s from RACIST- HOMOPHOBS- MISOGYNIST- INSANE RELIGIOUS NUTS who swear they saw jesus driving a pickup truck with a confederate flag hanging out the back. The GOP has glorified the CRAZY element in america, FUX NEWS has poisoned the waters so badly that republicans can’t be reasoned with! Just read @constitutions delusional rants! this individual is a byproduct of NEO CONFEDERATE propaganda!! he’s rambling about the muslim brotherhood like Obama is a card carrying member!! This FOOL is out of his mind!! Goldwater warned us!! and NOW we’re seeing the chickens come home to roost!!

  14. Time to drag out your history books.
    Before Martin Luther – the white, European one MLK was named for – The Pope and his minions ruled the land. You sat on a throne if he allowed it. You slaughtered who he told you to and toed the line his Cardinals drew. Needless to say, the ‘priesthood’ was massively corrupt.

    As Europe clawed its way out of the Dark Ages, the Pope’s power waned. And the blood flowed.(note: the Wikipedia article on Puritans needs a lot of the happy face scrubbed off.)

    Colonists, including those Puritans, came to America to avoid summary execution, and burning to set up their own little Bundylands where they could play Pope. BTB – Puritans got booted out of England because of their rigid bloody handedness.

    Survival trumps forced religion, and people voted with their feet. But the specter of religious bloodshed and the bane of ‘god’ meddling in politics terrified the Constitutional Congress. The first amendment was their vaccine for the AIDS of religion.

  15. Very few people understand that the pilgrims who came here for religious freedom were tyrants themselves. This is what the right wing says we based our country and constitution on. Nothing could be further from the truth

    They were NOT wanted in any country

  16. It’s always interesting to watch atheists and Satanists rant and rave when they cannot force their minority will on the majority of the people.

  17. So the fact that fundie christians are trying to force their will on everyone else including the majority doesnt faze you?

  18. Well, yuh know, …freedom of religion doesn’t really mean actual freedom of religion.

    Bullshit it don’t.

  19. …which is something I wish folks would remember at Thanksgiving. And also remember that they usurped the already settled and occupied land of the native peoples who were there first.

  20. You might read up on that dinner as well. Its not at all as we envision it.

    As far as the native peoples, I am afraid that what happened was inevitable. Sadly.

  21. This is the very kind of slippery slope is what we were warned about in the 50s/60s. The encroachment of religious intolerance and theocracy is antithetical to what it means to be an American.

  22. It appears that today’s self proclaimed ‘christians’ have adopted the tactics of Al Queda and the Taliban, in other words the terrorists have won.

  23. True of the fundamentalists or right-wingers. Not true of me. These are not “conservatives” they are AUTHORITARIANS. Their religion is of their own making and choice.

    They need to leave the rest of us alone!!!

  24. Roanoke County supervisor Al Bedrosian obviously doesn’t know much about our founders’ views.

    In the Greece NY decision, the Court cited the Marsh v. Chambers decision concerning the Nebraska legislature that “We are a religious people.” (The Marsh decision appears to have no applicability to the Greece NY case.) We may be religious but we are also irreligious and irreverent.

    For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote: The time will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fables of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

    Mark Twain commented: “Irreverence is the champion of liberty and one of its sure defense.”

    The Greece decision sharply curbed any free speech that disparages religion. Yet that’s exactly what the Old Testament prophets did. So did Jesus, the Apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews.

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