From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record video series: This week the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the rights of a local town council in Greece, NY to open their meetings with a prayer, saying it did not violate the constitutional prohibition against government establishment of religion. In this week’s video, I discuss how we got to this place, how the court rendered its decision and how we can move forward in as healthy a way as possible from this decision.
Please be sure to also read Irwin’s take on this issue: Heaven Help Us: The Public Prayer Debate
Whether a “ceremonial” prayer is really required to open a government meeting, yet alone makes any difference seems a rather unimportant question given the serious challenges we face in this country these days, but it does invite us to reflect on what is happening with regard to the separation of church and state – one of the great innovations in governing. Historically, this innovation protected both religion and state from their worst impulses to abuse power. But the relationship between religion and state, like all living relationships, is dynamic and always shifting. Separation of church and state ought to be seen as a verb not a noun – an ongoing construction – and today we are in a serious period of renegotiation and recalibration of the relationship.?
Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better. Their stories explore a wise range of issues including peace, tolerance, social justice and the environment. Visit Odyssey Networks at www.odysseynetworks.org.
To view more of Brad’s Faith on the Record discussions, please click here.
Brad Hirschfield is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Brad has been featured on ABC’s Nightline UpClose, PBS’s Frontline, Fox News and National Public Radio. He wrote a long-standing column, “For God’s Sake,” for the Washington Post, and has also written for The Huffington Post and Beliefnet.com. He authored the book, You Don?t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Brad also serves as President of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.