Our Nation’s protection, that fortress which is our Constitution, cannot possibly rest upon the changeable philosophical predilections of the Justices of this Court, but must have deep foundations in the historic practices of our people. Lee v. Weisman, 1992
The issue in this case was prayer, specifically, invocations and benedictions delivered at school graduations. The facts were summarized by the Court:
The city of Providence, Rhode Island had a policy of permitting its public high school and middle school principals to invite members of the clergy to offer invocation and benediction prayers as part of the school’s formal graduation ceremonies. Pursuant to this policy, the principal of a middle school invited a rabbi to offer such prayers. The principal gave the rabbi a pamphlet entitled “Guidelines for Civic Occasions,” which recommended that public prayers at nonsectarian civic ceremonies be composed with inclusiveness and sensitivity. Also, the principal advised the rabbi that the invocation and benediction should be nonsectarian.
Although the rabbi prayed according to the “politically correct” guidelines given him, a suit was nevertheless filed by a student and her father, Daniel Weisman. When that case finally reached the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote the Court struck down the traditional practice of graduation invocations and benedictions offered by clergy. The Court provided the essence of its argument in this simple sentence:
But it is not enough that the government restrain from compelling religious practices: it must not engage in them either. Notice the Court’s conclusion that to allow a rabbi to offer a prayer was the equivalent of the government engaging in a religious practice an incomprehensible stretch both of logic and of interpretation.
Nevertheless, even if it were true that the government allowing prayer is the same as engaging in it, then our history is replete with numerous examples of the government doing so at the insistence of prominent Founding Fathers. Notice:
David Barton – The research that we do is extensive. The ushers, the greeters, the parkers, the teachers, the nursery workers are all in place to give glory to God. Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. Worship should be organized.