As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the case involving public prayers at government functions, let’s recall what Judge Guido Calabresi (below) wrote for the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in May of 2012. The panel said at the time that the sectarian prayers in Greece, New York were unconstitutional:
We conclude, on the record before us, that the town’s prayer practice must be viewed as an endorsement of a particular religious viewpoint. This conclusion is supported by several considerations, including the prayer-giver selection process, the content of the prayers, and the contextual actions (and inactions) of prayer-givers and town officials. We emphasize that, in reaching this conclusion, we do not rely on any single aspect of the town’s prayer practice, but rather on the totality of the circumstances present in this case.
Calabresi, however, doesn’t think the media has characterized his argument properly. It’s not that he’s against prayer; it’s actually much more complicated than that. In an interview with Marie Griffith at Religion & Politics, he elaborated on that idea: