One thing Kennedy said in the Greece ruling –
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.
Well if so, the Framers were wrong. One, it’s not automatically “benign”; two, it’s a lot more than a mere acknowledgment; three, religion’s role in society is not necessarily something that should be encouraged, let alone imposed.
I for one don’t consider it at all benign for a major branch of government to give its imprimatur to the fanciful idea that there’s a Big But Absent Person in charge of us all and paying attention to our “prayers.” It’s a silly childish belief on a par with belief in fairies or ghosts, and it’s only this kind of supposedly “benign” public deference to it that allows to many people to think otherwise. It’s far from being just an acknowledgment; it is an endorsement.
Religion’s role in society is a mixed bag at best. There’s no obvious reason for Congress to “acknowledge” that role at all, and in any case hiring a chaplain to deliver a daily prayer is not acknowledgement but participation.