The court said in 5-4 decision that the content of the prayers is not significant as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion. The ruling was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester.... Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said the prayers are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions. “The inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers,” Kennedy said.
The court ruled in favor of the town of Greece, N.Y., a Rochester suburb that has opened its monthly public meetings with a Christian prayer since 1999. Two residents, one Jewish and the other atheist, claimed that because the prayers were almost always Christian, the practice amounted to government endorsement of a single faith.
ThinkProgress wrote up the case last year when the court agreed to hear it:
Eight years ago, in an opinion warning of the “violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government,” retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor offered a challenge to her fellow conservative justices eager to weaken the wall of separation between church and state: “[t]hose who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?” Today, there are five justices on the Supreme Court who would trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly.
And now they've made the swap. Conservative Christians are celebrating the ruling. I'm looking forward to cries of "Sharia law!" and "Anti-Christian persecution!" when a town with a Muslim majority decides to begin all their city council sessions with Imam offering prayers to Allah.