“Leave the room.”
That’s the message that Bill Reilich, Supervisor of the Town of Greece has for non-Christian citizens of the upstate New York community.
Non-Christians in Greece should leave public meetings of the Town Board of Greece if they don’t want to take part in Christian religious rituals, Reilich told listeners of the WXXI radio show Connections this afternoon.
Yesterday, a slim 5 to 4 majority of the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that local governments can impose practice of the rituals from a religion of their choosing upon citizens attending public legislative hearings. Justice Clarence Thomas actually wrote in his official legal opinion that, although the Town Board of Greece has been using the power of government as “coercion” to impose Christianity upon citizens with business before the board, that coercion is constitutionally acceptable.
Why would it be constitutionally acceptable for a government body to use its power to coerce citizens to practice a particular religion, when the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights explicitly forbids any government establishment of religion? It’s acceptable, Justice Thomas wrote, because the coercion is “subtle”.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his own opinion that when the Town Board of Greece allowed only Christian religious leaders to organize government prayers “it was not done with a discriminatory intent.”
What Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich told non-Christian citizens to do today was not at all subtle, and was certainly said with discriminatory intent. Non-Christians in the Town of Greece that they could either: 1) Shut up and take part in Christian religious rituals during government meetings, or 2) Get out.
Already, Greece v. Galloway is being used to put non-Christian Americans into the position of second class citizens.