Religion and Prayer in the Florida Legislature
VOLOKH at mail.law.ucla.edu
Fri Mar 10 14:42:28 PST 2000
Is it really possible for a genuinely equal access policy, that
really doesn't discriminate at all among sects and among messages? What
does the legislature do when someone from a racist church decides that this
would be a great way to cause a big stir by a prayer condemning the
non-Aryan races, the white devils, or whoever else? Or when someone from
from a more mainstream church deciding to use this as an opportunity to use
the prayer to push his own legislative agenda, and again to create
controversy and thus stimulate publicity?
I'm a big believer in not discriminating against private religious
speech. Lamb's Chapel and Rosenberger, I think, are clearly right; and I
think that, for instance, letting valedictorians say whatever they want to
say, religious or not, would be quite permissible. But I just don't think
that one *can* have a truly nondiscriminatory policy with regard to
invocations before a legislature.
Sean Gates writes:
> I agree there may be an issue of equal access for all religions, but why
> do we have to force religious speech to be non-religious (i.e.,
> non-sectarian)? What would be wrong with a policy that allows
> representatives from any religious tradition to give a prayer, a real
> prayer, not some censored, watered-down clap-trap?
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