The US Supreme Court ruled on two things in the Greece, NY prayer case. It confirmed prayers are allowed at the start of meetings of deliberative government bodies. The Court reversed the 2nd (northeastern states) and 4th (southeastern states) circuit courts’ decisions that required such prayers be non-sectarian (e.g., God, Heavenly Father, Lord).
Based on that 4th circuit ruling in 2011, boards, councils and the state legislature in SC had to switch to non-sectarian prayers. Most did, and some bodies actually dropped prayer all together and went to a moment of silence.
The Supreme Court’s ruling legalized sectarian prayers (e.g., Jesus, Allah, and Jehovah) at such meetings if the prayers are given by a randomly selected clergy and the body doesn’t discriminate in the selection of that clergy. In Greece, NY, one month a Wicca (witch) asked and gave the prayer to open the meeting.
Will local communities be OK with that?
The Pickens County School Board starts its meetings with a non-sectarian prayer. Personally, I support switching to the Greece, NY method, but I’d like to talk with local clergy and citizens and ask them. Do they want our board to continue with its non-sectarian prayers, or go the random clergy/ sectarian prayer route now deemed legal by the Supreme Court?
All councils, boards and even the state legislature in our state are facing the same question after this ruling when it comes to the prayer to open up their meetings.
School Board Trustee
School District of Pickens County