South Dakota Celebrates Supreme Court Decision Concerning City Council Prayer

By May 7, 2014South Dakota
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Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
-1 Corinthians 15:58

You may recall that in our 2013 Fall Newsletter we reported that South Dakota had joined 23 states in a “friend of the court” brief in the Town of Greece v. Galloway case at the U.S. Supreme Court. That case had implications for South Dakota because Rapid City had faced objections to opening its city council meetings with prayer.

We are pleased to report that the U.S Supreme Court upheld the town of Greece, N.Y., in opening its sessions with prayer.

In a press release from the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, Attorney General Jackley stated, “The framers of our South Dakota Constitution opened their sessions with a prayer in 1883, and our highest court has held today that this practice may continue with our legislature and other governmental bodies,” said Jackley. “Today’s decision reinforces that prayer is permissible at governmental gatherings so long as it does not amount to preaching and is undertaken in a manner that does not endorse or disparage a particular religion.”

Concerned Women for America issued the following press release on May 5, 2014:

WASHINGTON D.C. – Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, applauds today’s Supreme Court decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway. The Court upheld the town’s practice of beginning legislative sessions with prayer, saying it does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Penny Nance, CWA’s CEO and President, had this to say:

“Religious freedom is one of our most cherished freedoms, and today’s Supreme Court decision lifts up the best in our country. For years we have seen a push to establish atheism as the official religion of our land, when nothing of the sort is required by the First Amendment. Those who object to these practices do not seek to exercise their religious liberty; they merely feel hostile towards other people’s religious practices and seek to silence them. They seek to silence those with whom they disagree.

“As CWA’s brief in the case argued, the First Amendment is not about hurt feelings:

‘Those who settled this country and gave birth to the First Amendment did not flee their former homes to seek solace from hurt feelings, but from true religious bondage in the form of legal compulsion to support government-favored churches.’

“The Founders of this great nation benefited and relied heavily on prayer to seek the guidance they needed to establish the foundations of our nation. When the first Congress met on September 7, 1774, it began with an amazing prayer ‘in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.’ No religious oppression or favoritism followed from that practice, only the blessings of freedom and liberty, including the freedom of religious thought, belief, or even non-belief.

“Everyone wins, including the staunchest atheists, when we allow the free exercise of religion or non-religion according to a person’s conscience.”

If you would like an interview with Penny Nance, Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, or a Concerned Women for America spokesperson, please contact Alison Howard at or 202-266-4816.

Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with 500,000 participating members across the country, over 450 Prayer/Action Chapters and Home Teams, 600 trained leaders and over 30 years of service to our nation.

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