Weak of Moral Character

Monday, the Supreme Court upheld the idea of public prayer at the opening of (Greece, NY) town board meetings (and by extension at the opening of government meetings generally). The ruling, Town of Greece v Galloway, can be read here.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, wrote in part

From the earliest days of the Nation, these invocations have been addressed to assemblies comprising many different creeds. These ceremonial prayers strive for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion. Even those who disagree as to religious doctrine may find common ground in the desire to show respect for the divine in all aspects of their lives and being. Our tradition assumes that adult citizens, firm in their own beliefs, can tolerate and perhaps appreciate a ceremonial prayer delivered by a person of a different faith.

Justice Elena Kagan demurred from that view of the fundamental adulthood of American citizens. She wrote in dissent

…Greece’s town meetings involve participation by ordinary citizens, and the invocations given—directly to those citizens—were predominantly sectarian in content. … So month in and month out for over a decade, prayers steeped in only one faith, addressed toward members of the public, commenced meetings to discuss local affairs and distribute government benefits. In my view, that practice does not square with the First Amendment’s promise that every citizen, irrespective of her religion, owns an equal share in her government.

Because in the Progressive view of Americans, we don’t have the strength of character, the firmness of moral belief of an adult human being. Like children, we need continual instruction by government in what to believe, we need continual stiffening by government to hew to the correct line. We can’t do these things on our own.

Once again, Progressives are projecting their own failings onto others. (And that bit about “distribut[ing] government benefits:” another Progressivism—that’s the purpose of government.)

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  1. Pingback: Responsibility—Another Thought | A Plebe's Site

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