A policy that could lead to the exclusion of non-Christian groups

The Supreme Court ruling handed down yesterday is inspiring new efforts, just as everyone knew it would. The Board of Supervisors of Roanoke County, Virginia, for instance:

Roanoke County’s Board of Supervisors may be headed toward another discussion of prayer following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling handed down Monday. The board dealt with the matter in 2012, eventually passing a nonsectarian prayer policy that Supervisor Al Bedrosian is ready to strike from the books.

“The freedom of religion doesn’t mean that every religion has to be heard,” said Bedrosian, who added that he is concerned about groups such as Wiccans and Satanists. “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

The supervisor campaigned on the idea of eliminating the policy, and the ruling has breathed new life into his idea for a policy that could lead to the exclusion of non-Christian groups from the invocation.

Yay. Formal, official Christian supremacy in government at last. The city on a hill is in sight.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

    That’s specifically what this ruling said couldn’t (or shouldn’t, anyway) be done by the government, and that’s draw a line. Apparently, their reading skillz suk.

  2. says

    “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

    Allow me to propose where:

    Scientifically verifiable existing people should be the only ones spoken of as though they exist. You don’t like that, tough, you brought this mess on yourselves. It isn’t going to be pretty.

  3. mesh says

    The compartmentalization necessary for Christians to consider the US a Christian nation “from founding fathers on” while fighting to violate the very founding principles they laid down in order to “move [us] towards our Christian heritage” is truly astounding. It really does take a good bit of mental gymnastics to declare your religion as the country’s identity while campaigning to etch said identity into it. If it’s already a Christian nation then why not butt out and let nature take its course? Why the fuck would we need to make a political effort to move towards a heritage that’s been with us from the start?

  4. says

    “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

    I mean I’m not an expert, not even an American, but wasn’t that kind of exactly the reason why there should not be any prayers at all? Correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. quixote says

    Alex SL: Yup.

    I shall watch our future progress with considerable interest.

  6. footface says

    I’ll say this for them: their world sounds pretty exciting. They think Satanists actually talk with demons. They think kids reading “Harry Potter” can actually do black magic. Fun!

  7. jesse says

    Historical note: prior to the passage of the “Civil War” amendments to the US Constitution, the Bil of Rights (the first 10 amendments) didn’t apply to individual states. That is, some states, Virginia being one, had religious tests for office. For non-Americans: essentially this means that only Federal officials and agencies were bound by the Bill of Rights — a state could pass all kinds of laws restricting speech and practice of religion, and many did. As you can see this would make the protection of many Constitutional rights essentially unenforceable, which is why the Civil War Amendments were passed to begin with and why jurisprudence here has evolved as it has. (And why the “States Rights” argument is simply silly a lot of the time).

    So, it appears Virginia wants to party like it’s 1859. And ignore the last 75 years worth of precedent in religious matters, as set by SCOTUS. Freedom of religion means precisely that: every religion does get heard, and none in a public space like that. About the closest thing you can do is a moment of silence, and even that is dicey. The assumption under these policies is always that everyone shares the same traditions, and that the people who don’t hold those traditions don’t matter– and shouldn’t.

  8. dickspringer says

    Scalia purports to base his opinions on the “original intent” of the writers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Here are comments by the original intender, James Madison, relevant to the prayer case above:

    “Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution,” and with the pure principle of religious freedom?

    “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation.

    “The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain? To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers. or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor.

    “If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents shd discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expence. How small a contribution from each member of Congs wd suffice for the purpose? How just wd it be in its principle? How noble in its exemplary sacrifice to the genius of the Constitution; and the divine right of conscience? Why should the expence of a religious worship be allowed for the Legislature, be paid by the public, more than that for the Ex. or Judiciary branch of the Govt.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *