As the Supreme Court prepares to rule in Greece v Galloway, a case involving the question of whether a local legislative body can open their meetings with prayer, a new survey finds that Americans overwhelmingly support such prayers as long as they are relatively generic:
The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on the constitutionality of prayer at public meetings. But a new survey finds U.S. voters clearly favor prayer – as long the public prayer is generic and not specifically Christian.
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind survey asked about attitudes on high profile cases before the court, including Greece v. Galloway. That case addresses whether elected officials can open public meetings with religiously specific prayers, such as praying in Jesus’ name.
Most registered voters (73 percent) said “prayer at public meetings is fine as long as the public officials are not favoring some beliefs over others.” And 23 percent said “public meetings shouldn’t have any prayers at all because prayers by definition suggest one belief or another.”
The key, however, is that this case centers on generic prayer that is “harmless, if not uplifting,” said Woolley. “Americans have become more used to the idea that one denomination is not necessarily privileged over another. Even unbelievers — atheists who would say prayer ‘is not for me’ — approved” of allowing nonspecific prayer.
There is absolutely nothing preventing those who want to pray before a city council, school board of county commission meeting from doing so individually or collectively outside of the meeting itself. They can pray at home before they go or in their offices before going into the meeting room, yet they are absolutely insistent that everyone else be made to sit by while they perform religious exercises. This is about cultural hegemony and nothing else.