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Prayer

OPINION
November 10, 2013
Re "Prayer case bedevils Supreme Court," Nov. 7 Justice Antonin Scalia's concern that the Supreme Court might "stifle the manner in which [religious adherents] invoke their deity" can be resolved by a couple of minutes of silence when public meetings begin. During that solemn time, believers may mentally reconnect with their chosen deities. Meanwhile, nonbelievers may reflect on their good fortune to live where one's lack of belief can remain private, never to provoke reprisal.
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NATIONAL
November 6, 2013 | By Tim Phelps
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court justices appeared confounded Wednesday by how to fashion guidelines for prayer at public meetings at a time of vastly greater diversity of religious belief than earlier in the nation's history. The justices have struggled for decades to come up with a coherent set of rules for prayers at public meetings. Past decisions have allowed public bodies, including Congress, state legislatures and city councils, to open their meetings with prayers, but the justices have also ruled that public officials may not take actions that appear to “endorse” a specific set of religious beliefs.
NATIONAL
November 6, 2013 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Mulling over the beliefs of Christians, atheists, Bahais and even devil worshipers, Supreme Court justices appeared confounded Wednesday by how to fashion guidelines for prayer at public meetings in an era of rapidly increasing religious diversity in America. The justices have struggled for decades to come up with a coherent set of rules for prayers conducted at government forums. Past decisions have allowed public bodies, including Congress, state legislatures and city councils, to open their meetings with prayers, but the justices have also ruled that public officials may not take actions that appear to endorse a specific set of religious beliefs.
OPINION
November 5, 2013 | By Erwin Chemerinsky
In a move sure to please religious conservatives, President Obama's Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in favor of allowing overtly Christian prayers before city council meetings. It's an inexplicable move, and it's one more befitting a Republican administration than one headed by a Democrat and a constitutional scholar. The case is Town of Greece vs. Galloway, and it's set to be argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Greece is a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. Until 1999, its Town Board opened meetings with a moment of silence - a practice that excludes no one. But then Town Supervisor John Auberger initiated a policy change, and the town began inviting clergy to open meetings with a prayer.
NATIONAL
November 2, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - When Susan Galloway, who is Jewish, and Linda Stephens, an atheist, complained about the Christian prayers at town board meetings in Greece, N.Y., they were told they could "leave the room or just not listen," Galloway said. "We felt like outcasts," Galloway said. "We are not Christians, but we wanted to be at the meetings. When the minister was at the podium, it felt like a pulpit. " On Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a lower court decision in their favor in a case that could lead to a significant shift in law separating church and state and free city councils to open their meetings with explicitly Christian prayers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 27, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
Whenever she has bad news for a family at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center emergency room, Gabriela Perez says a little prayer to herself before stepping through the door. A devout Roman Catholic nicknamed "Mother Teresa" by her co-workers, Perez became a nurse practitioner 27 years ago to serve her community and those in need. It's more than a job, she said. Serving the needy is deeply intertwined with her faith. Perez attended the White Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Sunday afternoon to pray for her patients and for others in the healthcare profession.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 30, 2013 | By Frederick N. Rasmussen
Activist attorney Leonard J. Kerpelman, best known for representing atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair in the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case that outlawed prayer in public schools, died Thursday at a Baltimore hospital of complications from a tumor. He was 88. He took on numerous often unpopular causes during his long career that ended in disbarment in 1989, in part for disrupting a judicial hearing. And he was known as a colorful figure in Baltimore, driving a 1948 Cadillac and at times jumping into public fountains.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013 | Robin Abcarian
There is no mass shooting devastating enough, disgusting enough or shocking enough that the U.S. Congress would be moved to enact reasonable gun legislation like the measures proposed in April by President Obama after 20 first-graders were mowed down last year in Newtown, Conn. And there never will be. Monday, another mass shooting took place in America. It's still unclear how many in total have died, but according to officials, as least 12 people were shot to death at the Navy Yard, the oldest naval base in the country, in a gentrified part of Washington, D.C. Authorities identified the gunman as Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old African American man who worked as a civilian contractor at the site and was wearing military-style clothing.  The conservative columnist David Frumbrought down a Twitter load of outrage on his head when he tweeted to his 96,000 followers, shortly after after the Navy Yard shootings, five rules about mass shootings.
WORLD
August 27, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- The completion of a new prayer area at the Western Wall, where men and women of all denominations can worship together, is drawing criticism from female activists who describe the arrangement as anything but inclusive. The area consists of a raised platform located just south of the main plaza and the Orthodox Jewish prayer sections, which are segregated by gender. Minister Naftali Bennett, who is in charge of religious services, said Sunday that the prayer section will offer unity and peace at the wall, which he said "belongs to all Jews in the world, and not one stream or another.
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