There is doubt, in any event, that consensus might be reached as to what qualifies as generic or nonsectarian. Honorifics like “Lord of Lords” or “King of Kings” might strike a Christian audience as ecumenical, yet these titles may have no place in the vocabulary of other faith traditions. The difficulty, indeed the futility, of sifting sectarian from nonsectarian speech is illustrated by a letter that a lawyer for the respondents sent the town in the early stages of this litigation. The letter opined that references to “Father, God, Lord God, and the Almighty” would be acceptable in public prayer, but that references to “Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Trinity” would not. App. 21a. Perhaps the writer believed the former grouping would be acceptable to monotheists. Yet even seemingly general references to God or the Father might alien ate nonbelievers or polytheists. McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., 545 U. S. 844, 893 (2005) (SCALIA, J., dissenting). Because it is unlikely that prayer will be inclusive beyond dispute, it would be un wise to adopt what respondents think is the next-best option: permitting those religious words, and only those words, that are acceptable to the majority, even if they will exclude some. Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U. S. 488, 495 (1961). The First Amendment is not a majority rule, and government may not seek to define permissible categories of religious speech. Once it invites prayer into the public sphere, government must permit a prayer giver to address his or her own God or gods as conscience dictates, unfettered by what an administrator or judge considers to be nonsectarian.I'll write more about this case soon. It just happened.
ADDED: Cutting and pasting from the PDF produced "alien ate nonbelievers." Is that a sign? Anyway, it's fixed now — my contribution to the government coverup of the alien invasion Jane Harman was talking about yesterday. Anyway, this decision is unsurprising. When the Supreme Court granted cert. a year ago, I said: "My instant impression was they granted cert. to reverse and it's obvious (based on precedent)." But I'm interested in the details of how the various Justices, especially the newer ones, staked out their positions on the Establishment Clause.