Sorry for the short diary. But I find this wrong and need to point it out. Hopefully booman or someone else can go into it further. I don’t mind prayers and invocations etc. before government meetings as long as they’re broad-minded. This smacks of government support of some faiths over others. We’re supposed to be a tolerant nation.

The 4th Circuit ruled Chesterfield County's Board of Supervisors did not show impermissible motive in refusing to permit a pantheistic invocation by a Wiccan because its list of clergy who registered to conduct invocations covers a wide spectrum of Judeo-Christian denominations. Simpson v. Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, No. 04-1045 (April 14). Chesterfield County is in the Richmond suburbs.

"The Judeo-Christian tradition is, after all, not a single faith but an umbrella covering many faiths," Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the opinion.

Simpson is a leader in the spiritual group Reclaiming Tradition of Wicca and a member of another known as the Broom Riders Association. Her lawyers argue the 4th Circuit wrongfully discriminates among religions.

"A very basic point is that governments cannot make distinctions among their citizens on the basis of religion," says Rebecca Glenberg of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who argued on behalf of Simpson.

A law professor who has been involved in establishment clause litigation says the full 4th Circuit is not likely to change the ruling. And if it does, Douglas Laycock says, the Supreme Court probably would not take up a case with questions about limiting legislative prayer to Judeo-Christian faiths.

"The court has only so many chips to spend on this issue," says Laycock, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who believes there should be greater separation of church and state. "They haven't touched legislative prayer since the Marsh case more than 20 years ago. And it would be immensely unpopular in many parts of the country to let a Wiccan give a prayer. The courts aren't supposed to follow election returns, though they sometimes seem to do so, and they're even getting death threats now."

Intimidate the judiciary so that you get the court decisions you want. What is this? A Stalinistic country with kangaroo courts?

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