Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why an Evangelical Law Professor is Not Cheering the Supreme Court Decision in "Greece v. Galloway"

Carl H. Esbeck is the R.B. Price of Law at the University of Missouri.  He laments the Supreme Court decision to allow prayers before town meetings in Greece, New York and he does so because he is an evangelical Christian.  (See our coverage of this decision here and here).

In Esbeck's recent article at Christianity Today he offers several reasons why he is not "cheering" this decision.  I have summarized them below.

  • Christian prayer at town meetings leaves the hearts of non-Christians "hardened to Christianity."
  • As a result of the decision in Greece v. Galloway non-evangelicals and non-Christians will seize the opportunity to pray before town meetings.  Wiccan priestesses and atheists will want to take a turn at offering an invocation
  • It makes people distrust evangelicals and undermines "principled pluralism" as a way for people of all faiths or no faith at all to live peacefully in American society
  • If Christians are given special privilege in town government they will lose their "prophetic" voice to speak against the culture when necessary.
  • The decision will encourage a mere "civil religion" in Greece by wedding piety to local patriotism.
  • "Free exercise of religion" has never meant that "people of faith have a right to capture the engines of government and put them to work on behalf of their confession."

Read the entire piece here.

I also recommend checking out Brian Beutler's piece at The New Republic: "Conservative Christians Just Won a Huge Case.  Why Won't They Celebrate?"