A New York Times editorial in today’s paper calls yesterday’s Supreme Court decision a “lamentable ruling” and a “defeat for religious neutrality.” It also includes a swipe at the Obama Administration for defending the prayers:
In a lamentable ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority brushed past those core values [of pluralism and inclusion] to allow the town of Greece, in upstate New York, to begin its town hall meetings with a sectarian prayer nearly always from a Christian “chaplain of the month.”
Justice Kennedy cited the town board’s purported policy of being open to having prayers delivered by ministers or laymen of other faiths, but that policy was never publicized. Nor was it made clear at meetings that town residents need not participate in the prayer. It was disappointing that the Justice Department urged the justices to uphold the prayer practice in the town hall meetings, which skirted the constitutional principle of religious neutrality and caused some residents to feel like outsiders.
Harsh but well-deserved words after an irresponsible ruling.