Follow us:

Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 14, 2013 at 7:26 AM

Remove all government prayer

Atheists are treated like second-class citizens

The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in Greece v. Galloway, which involved Christian prayers at City Council meetings [“Supreme Court hears case on public prayer,” News, Nov. 7].

Nondenominational prayers would be better than sectarian prayers, but it’s not acceptable to atheists, who don’t pray. If the court were consistent it would find nondenominational prayers unconstitutional, just as prayers in public classrooms are impermissible even if nondenominational.

The court didn’t bother considering the best solution: removing all government prayer. Why? Because atheists don’t count. Trying to determine what types of prayer would be acceptable to everyone, Chief Justice John Roberts asked, “We’ve already excluded the atheists, right?” A lawyer agreed: “Atheists cannot get full relief in this context, and the McCreary dissenters said that explicitly.” He was referring to the McCreary dissenting opinion in 2005 (written by Justice Antonin Scalia), which claimed that our Constitution “permits the disregard of devout atheists.”

So it’s simply assumed that atheists are second-class citizens. Imagine if the court declared that “Jews are excluded” or “The Constitution permits the disregard of blacks.” The uproar would be deafening. But when atheists are involved, we hear not a peep from the mainstream media or anyone else. Let’s hear it for the separation of church and state.

Matthew Barry, Issaquah

0 Comments | More in government, Religion | Topics: government, religion

COMMENTS

READER NOTE: Our commenting system has changed. Find out more.

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►