This is the kind of stuff that should not precede public meetings. In exactly 5 days, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, which Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has characterized as “the first legislative prayer case to be heard by the high court in 30 years.” At issue is the incessant use of prayers, almost invariably Christian, before meetings of the Greece, New York, town council. This is an important case and, given the present conservative and Catholic composition of the Court, a dicey one.
If you want to hear the prayers, Americans United has compiled a bunch of videos of them here. Just the top one will suffice. They’re long, insufferable, and repeatedly invoke Jesus. They are an unconscionable breach of the wall between church and state, mandated by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And they also privilege one religion over others.
Have a look. If the court rules for the town, it’s all over in the U.S. We’ll have prayers in every public function—maybe even in high-school sporting events.
Kudos to Americans United, which noted this in an email about the videos:
Americans United has used video links in previous cases, but never as extensively or with such high stakes – and to do so required an unprecedented effort by Legal staffers. They reviewed 130 videos from Greece Town Board meetings from 1999 to 2010, comprising nearly 150 hours of footage. From the raw footage, they created 10 video compilations, each approximately 10 minutes in length. The compilations were organized by theme – opening proceedings, awards, public hearings, public comments, swearings-in, segments that included children as participants and, of course, a compilation of the prayers themselves.
The Legal team estimates that they “easily” spent 1,000 hours working on this project. Not only did they review nearly 150 hours of raw footage, but each video had to be converted from a DVD to a format that could be edited using computer software. They estimate that each 10 minute compilation took 100 hours to complete!