While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s recent ruling to allow official sectarian prayer at government meetings, we applaud Pismo Beach for doing the right thing by ending this exclusionary practice in our community. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway reversed a lower court’s ruling that sponsoring mostly Christian prayers during town meetings violated the Constitution.
It’s worth noting that even with the new ruling, Pismo Beach was still in violation of the California Constitution, which articulates clearer boundaries between church and state, including that a government cannot “grant anything to or in aid of any religious sect, church, creed, or sectarian purpose” (like an official time slot for prayers).
If they haven’t already, we hope other governments in our community will follow Pismo Beach’s lead and do away with designated time for prayer at their meetings. Government prayer does nothing to aid in governing a town or city; it only serves to alienate and divide its citizens.