The Supreme Court Prayer Decision, "Cafeteria Faith," and Pious Politics
In a victory for religious and speech freedoms, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that sectarian prayers, including those in the name of Jesus, are appropriate at government meetings.
Requiring prayers to be nonsectarian would require courts to "act as supervisors and censors of religious speech," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority opinion, "thus involving government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case under the town's current practice of neither editing nor approving prayers in advance nor criticizing their content after the fact."
The decision highlights the continued rocky relationship of faith and politics. A recent opinion piece from former White House faith aide Michael Wear ponders the difficulty, and sees it as the result of "pick and choose" religion:
In our cafeteria age, the opportunity for a religious political engagement that is defined by preference over conviction is always evident. However, self-interest and personal preference makes for awful politics and incoherent faith. A religious movement that takes its lead from the politics of the moment sacrifices the unique power it holds.
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