There is an incredibly fine line between the separation of church and state – a line that has been and continues to be redefined across the course of American history.
Most recently, the issue was addressed by the Supreme Court last week. Government and public school officials put forth their arguments for a right to say prayers or invocations prior to public meetings. Historically, the Supreme Court has refused to hear cases about religious liberty and prayer in courts.
Specifically, they refused to hear the North Carolina case, Forsyth County v. Joyner, et al (11-546) and the Delaware case, Indian River School District, et al., v. Doe, et al (11-569).
In Forsyth Country v. Joyner, the North Carolina county board was accused of violating the law by allowing its meeting sessions to be opened by prayers that mentioned “Jesus Christ,” in other words, Christian prayers.
Similarly, in Indian River School District, et al., v Doe, the religious invocations that were recited at the monthly board meetings of the Selbyville, Delaware school district were accused of being unconstitutional.
David Cortman, senior counsel for Forsyth County, told the press, “No federal court has ruled that prayers cannot be offered before public meetings. The Supreme Court has simply missed an opportunity to clear up the differing opinions among the various circuits about the content of the prayers.”
These haven’t been the first set of these particular cases nor will they be the last, especially these days when people are becoming more open about expressing their personal opinions out loud. The question that is left lingering in everyone’s mind is, where exactly should that line separating church and state be drawn?
“America’s Founders never shied away from referencing the God to whom they were praying when offering public invocations,” Cortman said. “The citizens of Forsyth County should have this same opportunity.”