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Dionne: Supreme Court failed empathy test in prayer ruling

Dionne: Supreme Court failed empathy test in prayer ruling

The five justices of the U. S. Supreme Court who voted to permit sectarian prayers before public meetings failed to imagine how religious minorities experience those prayers, writes E. J. Dionne in The Washington Post.

Religious liberty, wrote Justice Elaine Kagan in her dissent, is based on

“the breathtakingly generous constitutional idea that our public institutions belong no less to the Buddhist or Hindu than to the Methodist or Episcopalian.”

Religious liberty will not disappear because of the court’s 5-to-4 ruling that the government of Greece, N.Y., can begin its town board meetings with prayers — even though, as Kagan put it, “month in and month out for over a decade,” they were “steeped in only one faith,” Christianity.

But the court majority not only failed the empathy test but also lost the opportunity Kagan offered to find a balance that would both honor religion’s role in American public life and safeguard the rights of those whose faith commitments diverge from the majority’s.

Do you agree?


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Richard III

No one should be surprised that a right leaning Republican majority would see it any other way. After all America is a Christian nation that has conveniently forgotten its’ heritage as a religiously inclusive society where state sponsored religion was viewed as an unhealthy and unwise situation. We may not have an officially recognized religion but it might just as well be Christianity. As tolerant as many “christians” would have you believe they are of other faith traditions it just isn’t so. Too many of our co-religionists dislike Jews and absolutely despise Muslims, largely out of their sheer ignorance and assumptions that we’re better than they are, after all we’re the only ones who will achieve salvation and get into heaven because we know that we have a monopoly on Jesus. Go ask any unquestioning believer about it and you’ll get your answer. What’s it called, hubris?

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