The Supreme Court Invocation

A particularly ironic aspect of this whole debate is the fact that the Supreme Court, which banned teacher-led prayer in public schools, begins its sessions with prayer. The crier says, "God save the United States and this honorable court." It's an important enough consideration that Supreme Court Justices on both sides of this debate have mentioned it. Justice Douglas, concurring with the Court in Engel v. Vitale, and Justice Stewart, dissenting.

It is interesting to note that Justice Douglas, in the case mentioned above, says plainly that public school teachers who lead in prayer are doing the same thing that the crier does when Supreme Court session opens. Yet, he still joins with the court in stating that teacher-led non-sectarian prayer in public school is unconstitutional. Understandably so, Justice Stewart was perplexed by the Court's position here. (see Justice Stewart's opinion).

The point is that not just one, but two branches of government open with prayer (Congress does as well). And here, the Supreme Court, which denies public school stundents the right to have teacher-led prayer, opens itself with prayer.

But such is the inconsistency that characterizes much of this issue, and has done so for years, as we have seen.

The recognition of a Supreme Being, and prayer to that Being, are part of the history of not only our country but also our government. The prayer at the beginning of Supreme Court sessions is just one more example of that.

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