OU Advocacy Comment on Supreme Court Decision Regarding Public Prayer

Posted on May 6, 2014

On May 5, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. This case involved the constitutional scope and content of prayers recited at the opening of official government meetings. A full summary of the case and the ruling is available here.

As a general matter, the OU respects and supports the appropriate expression of religion in the public square – including at the opening of government functions, such as takes place at the opening of Congress and the Supreme Court each day, presidential inaugurations and the like.

It’s clear from the opinions written by Justice Kennedy for the majority and Justice Kagan for the dissent that their differences in the Town of Greece case turn on their views of the specific facts of the case and whether the practice there was sufficiently mindful, in context, of American religious pluralism. Even in dissent, Justice Kagan does not assert the absolute, strict separationist position.

While the OU didn’t participate in this case, we applaud the consensus perspective present on both sides – that religion has a place in America’s public square and it should be mindful of our pluralism.

These comments, and those of others, were first reported in the NY Jewish Week.