"Respondents maintain that prayer must be nonsectarian … and they fault the town for permitting guest chaplains to deliver prayers that ‘use overtly Christian terms’ or ‘invoke specifics of Christian theology.’ … An insistence on nonsectarian or ecumenical prayer as a single, fixed standard is not consistent with the tradition of legislative prayer. … The Congress that drafted the First Amendment would have been accustomed to invocations containing explicitly religious themes of the sort respondents find objectionable. One of the Senate’s first chaplains, the Rev. William White, gave prayers in a series that included the Lord’s Prayer, the Collect for Ash Wednesday, prayers for peace and grace, a general thanksgiving, St. Chrysostom’s Prayer, and a prayer seeking ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c …'"
by:
Justice Anthony Kennedy
(1936-) Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1988-2018)
Source:
Town of Greece, NY, v. Galloway et al, Justice Kennedy wrote in the decision, May 5, 2014
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