Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Freedom of Religion a Myth?
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Tuesday from a Wiccan priestess angry that local leaders would not let her open their sessions with a prayer.
Instead, clergy from more traditional religions were invited to pray at governmental meetings in Chesterfield County, Va., a suburb of Richmond.
Simpson sued and initially won before a federal judge who said the county's policy was unconstitutional because it stated a preference for a set of religious beliefs.
Simpson lost at the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that the county had changed its policy and directed clerics to avoid invoking the name of Jesus.
Lawyers for Cynthia Simpson had told justices in a filing that most of the invocations are led by Christians. Simpson said she wanted to offer a generalized prayer to the "creator of the universe."
The county (GOI: Government) "issues invitations to deliver prayers to all Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders in the country. It refuses to issue invitations to Native Americans, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Wiccans, or members of any other religion," justices were told in her appeal by American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Rebecca Glenberg.
GOI: I don't get this decision on several points. First, This Simpson lady said she wanted to offer a generalized prayer to the "creator of the universe." She was clearly in keeping with the counties policy that "directed clerics to avoid invoking the name of Jesus."
Second, It seems obvious to me that the county should either allow a different religions to pray now and then or not offer a prayer at all but then again maybe that makes too much sense. I just happen to be a Buddhist and I guess my religion is not a "traditional religion" despite the tradition of Buddhism being older then Christianity.
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