The U.S. Supreme Court’s latest drama, allowing prayer in public meetings, might as well be the scream accompanying our Constitution’s post-Citizens United free fall. Please remember that earlier shameful piece of work for the unfair political leverage it gives corporate bigwigs using shareholder money.

The five-ninths who ruled have now tagged themselves for the ages as people who do not get the practical logic of the First Amendment’s “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” They don’t get that separating religion from government protects everyone’s religious or nonreligious freedom. Instead, they have read religious freedom as license to foist majoritarian ideals on everyone else — the “majority” likely to be determined by city council seats.

The five-ninths also do not get that established religion and politics, like conformity and individualism, do not mix. The supposed moral high ground that vague religious affiliations seem to afford political contenders only clouds real issues that should be the focus of government.

Besides blatant discrimination against non-Christians that will result from this ruling, the argument that it favors Christianity also offends me. Who speaks for all Christians? Nobody, not even the Pope.

Furthermore, the decision’s exclusionary and authoritarian overtones sound distinctly un-Christian; didn’t Jesus himself suggest rendering to Caesar (i.e., the state) the things that are Caesar’s?

In other words, pay your taxes and keep religion purely personal.

William F. Bertolette


Baton Rouge