Siouxland Freethinkers against recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Siouxland Freethinkers against recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it's okay for governing bodies to open meetings with a prayer.

For some, this raises the issue of separation of church and state. 

The Siouxland Freethinkers are disappointed with this Supreme Court ruling. Promoting a secular form of government in our country is the group's primary mission.

"While the Justices, the majority of them, said this was merely a symbolic function of government and didn't have any particular religious connotation -- our concern is that it does open the door for maybe subtle forms of religious bias. There might be forms of discrimination, maybe not so much by what is said in the invocations, but by who gives them," said Martin Dennis, Siouxland Freethinkers.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says as long as the prayer doesn't discriminate against a particular religion, it is appropriate. 
"We were very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that a governmental body could voluntarily, in other words have discretion if they wish, to hold appropriate prayer at the beginning of a legislative session or city council meeting," said Jackley.

Although the Siouxland Freethinkers believe the ruling is fundamentally a mistake, since it is in place now -- they say the next best thing is to handle it like Sioux Falls is -- inviting any faith or organization to make the opening invocation.

"We would like to see an expression of a wide diversity of beliefs that really reflect the full diversity here in Sioux Falls," said Dennis.

However, Dennis worries this could run the risk of having overrepresentation of one point of view over others. 

"Once you get on to this path of trying to make sure that all opinions and perspectives are represented, that can become a really onerous burden," said Dennis.

Siouxland Freethinkers will be making a secular invocation at a Sioux Falls City Council meeting in the next couple of months.

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