Indiana Wants Public Body Prayers to Acknowledge Christianity
Indiana wants the U.S. Supreme Court to permit prayers that subscribe to specific religious affiliations to be recited prior to all public government assemblies. In an attempt to make this happen, the Indiana attorney general’s office signed a friend-of-the-court memo earlier last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to exemplify public bodies that prefer to reference denominational alliances.
The problem is, the Supreme Court has previously ruled that prayer is acceptable in public meetings as long as it does not go against the grain of any particular faith. Yet, Indiana and 21 other states want the right to conduct prayers before public sessions that are blatantly skewed towards a particular religion. Though Indiana legislative leaders have stated that they have invited other faiths to host the prayer, most opening prayers are Christian in nature.
“The Court should reject the assumption that the content of private citizens’ prayers before legislative assemblies is attributable exclusively to the government,” said Indiana Attorney General. “Such prayers, rather, are expressions of private belief made in service to an elected body of citizens.”
In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the Indiana General Assembly couldn’t mention Jesus Christ or the savior because those terms gave the indication that the state had a religious preference. However, that ruling was eventually thrown out of an appeals court without further ruling on the issue.
Indiana Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk told The Journal Gazette, “The Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the question when the prayers get more overt. How far can they go? That is the question in this case.”
Some supporters of sectarian prayer before public meetings say that this country was founded on freedom of religion and the founders would likely roll over in their graves if they could see that our government had essentially banned Christianity.