Jump to content
JWTalk - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Atheistism in the Supreme Court?

We lock topics that are over 365 days old, and the last reply made in this topic was 3613 days ago. If you want to discuss this subject, we prefer that you start a new topic.

Recommended Posts

Did A Supreme Court Justice Just Admit To Being An Atheist?

The Huffington Post  |  By Nick Wing Posted: 11/08/2013 3:31 pm EST  |  Updated: 11/08/2013 5:11 pm EST


The Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a case about the constitutionality of a New York town's practice of beginning local legislative meetings with mostly Christian prayers. During one exchange, Justice Antonin Scalia pressed a lawyer for the town of Greece -- which is arguing that a court of appeals erred in ruling that the prayers violated the establishment clause of the Constitution -- on the equivalent of prayer for nonbelievers.


"What is the equivalent of prayer for somebody who is not religious?" asked Scalia, a devout Catholic.

The lawyer, Thomas Hungar, had trouble pinning down an answer, which eventually led Justice Stephen Breyer to interject with a remark that is being seen by atheist and non-theist advocates as a possible admission that he may share their views on religion.


"Perhaps he’s asking me that question and I can answer it later," Breyer said, seemingly suggesting that Scalia had directed the question about nonreligious prayer to him. While Breyer -- thought of as the most conservative of the liberal-leaning judges -- grew up in a Jewish household, his family did not observe the faith strictly. His daughter, Chloe Breyer, is an Episcopal priest. Nonbelievers have responded with excitement to the possibility that Breyer may not have a religious faith at all. Maggie Ardiente, communications director of the American Humanist Association, said that Breyer's comments could suggest that he's a non-theist, or at least that he would be willing to speak on their behalf during Supreme Court proceedings.


"Elected leaders should not be in the business of leading Americans in prayer, which excludes those who are non-religious," Ardiente said in a statement. "It's a great sign that Justice Breyer seems to be willing to talk to other members of the court to help explain objections non-theists may have to any potential decision. And, if Justice Breyer is nonreligious himself, it's a great time to 'come out.' He's in good company with nearly 20 percent of the population claiming no religious affiliation."


No avowed atheists or non-theists have been appointed to the Supreme Court. Only one, Justice David Davis III, who served in the 19th century, has claimed to be non-denominational. There are currently six Catholics and three Jews, including Breyer, serving on the bench.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

About JWTalk.net - Jehovah's Witnesses Online Community

Since 2006, JWTalk has proved to be a well-moderated online community for real Jehovah's Witnesses on the web. However, our community is not an official website of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is not endorsed, sponsored, or maintained by any legal entity used by Jehovah's Witnesses. We are a pro-JW community maintained by brothers and sisters around the world. We expect all community members to be active publishers in their congregations, therefore, please do not apply for membership if you are not currently one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.

JWTalk 23.8.11 (changelog)