Yesterday, the Supreme Court sent a resounding message to citizens and government leaders across the nation that they do not have to check their faith at the door. The 5-4 decision in favor of the Town of Greece determined that opening government meetings in prayer is appropriate, even if they routinely stress Christianity.This ruling will reverberate in small communities across the country. Town councils have been threatened with lawsuits by anti-God groups, causing them to stop long standing traditions of opening their meetings in prayer. Some have already begun reinstating prayer as a result of this monumental decision.
Congressman Forbes, along with Congressman Steve Scalise, led eighty-five Members of Congress in an amicus curiae brief in support of the town’s legislator’s freedom to open meetings in prayer. To read the House Member’s amicus brief in Town of Greece v. Galloway, and to see a list of the Members who signed it, click here.This emphasizes the important work of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation and its members, as we work together to ensure citizens are equipped and educated to stand up for their right to pray and express their faith in the public square.
The law is clear and the Supreme Court has confirmed that prayer and faith are the lifeblood of American freedom.This historic and important victory is attributed to months of prayer and action by committed Americans like you. Read Congressman Forbes’ statement below on this heartening decision. Congressman J. Randy Forbes issued the following statement:
The Court’s decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway is a victory for the practice of legislative prayer. The Court not only reinforced in detail the deep historical significance of legislative prayer in our Nation, but also affirmed how a practice of legislative prayer that is open to all religious creeds acknowledges and celebrates our diversity. One need not agree with every theological implication of a proffered prayer to unite behind the symbolic importance of a ceremonial prayer. Today’s decision affirms our tradition of prayer for generations to come.”
In an opinion authored by Justice Kennedy, the Court highlighted our Nation’s long tradition of legislative prayer, stating, “That the First Congress provided for the appointment of chaplains only days after approving language for the First Amendment demonstrates that the Framers considered legislative prayer a benign acknowledgment of religion’s role in society. . . . As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of “God save the United States and this honorable Court” at the opening of this Court’s sessions.”
The Court’s decision also addresses the way in which prayer unites us as a people: “These ceremonial prayers strive for the idea that people of many faiths may be united in a community of tolerance and devotion. Even those who disagree as to religious doctrine may find common ground in the desire to show respect for the divine in all aspects of their lives and being. Our tradition assumes that adult citizens, firm in their own beliefs, can tolerate and perhaps appreciate a ceremonial prayer delivered by a person of a different faith.”
Congressman Forbes, along with Congressman Steve Scalise, led eighty-five Members of Congress in an amicus curiae brief in support of the town’s legislative prayer practice. Congressman Forbes is the Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a bipartisan group of 100 Members of Congress who are committed to defending America’s heritage of religious freedom.