Public Prayer Ruling a Gnat Bite for Liberties in ICU

Whether or not you agree with today’s Supreme Court decision allowing Greece, NY officials to open town meetings with Christian-leaning prayers, the nature of the case itself illustrates how remarkably intact religious liberties remain in America compared with the country’s nearly extinct economic freedoms.

Imagine what the equivalent headline today might have been if control over our income, purchases, and business dealings had been preserved as vigilantly as our right to free religious expression:

“Supreme Court rules Department of Health and Human Services may use website to opine individuals should have health insurance.”


“Supreme Court rules Internal Revenue Service may suggest contributing income to Social Security programs.”

Gazing longingly through the window of the intensive care unit, wouldn’t the gnat bites that come with the cookouts and fishing trips of summer be a wonderful problem to have?


7 thoughts on “Public Prayer Ruling a Gnat Bite for Liberties in ICU

  1. I wouldn’t call it “religious liberty” as much as I would “religious favoritism”. The irony is that Christians claim persecution louder than just about any other religious demographic in America.

    • True, but isn’t the outrage surrounding the Supreme Court decision disproportionate as well? I can’t discern any real harm from a public prayer beyond the passing annoyance of sitting through it. I suppose one could even cover his ears or walk out if it bothered him so much. I’d like to similarly walk away from my hefty financial obligations to social programs, or cover my ears to the many prohibitions which govern my everyday behaviour.

      • Disproportionate outrage?

        Try going to a city counsel meeting next week and opening it with a prayer to Allah. Then you see disproportionate outrage.

        And guess what? – it will ALL be coming from the very people who are applauding this decision. Can’t you tell that these people use “religious freedom” as a pseudonym for “christian privilege”? And that becomes crystal clear when you begin applying the freedoms they claim they support to religions other than their own – particularly the ones they find threatening.

        Honest, principled Christians are every bit as interested in church-state separation as secularists are.

        When you offer to open that counsel meeting with a prayer to Allah, just remind everyone there that you can’t discern any real harm from a public prayer. I suspect that there’ll be no shortage of people there willing to point it out.

      • That may well be the case, but my focus here is on the relative freedom of religion in the US even after this supposed setback and how it puts a finger on just how far we’ve fallen in economic areas where we are being coerced to do or not do things in very meaningful and harmful ways.

  2. Oh, look! Turns out the experiment was already performed for us. Except instead of a Muslim prayer, it was a harmless Hindu, but even that was too much for the theocrats to handle.

    • To be clear, I don’t still believe it because I never believed it in the first place. While perhaps an interesting topic in its own right, Christian hypocrisy is not the subject of this post. The point I did make was that prayer in public meetings – while perhaps annoying to the non-believer – doesn’t actually prevent us from exercising religious freedoms in the same severe manner as so many of our economic activities are coerced or restricted.

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