While hearing arguments about the constitutionality of having opening prayers for legislative bodies Scalia said something surprising astute. While Alito was asking whether or not a prayer could be constructed to be acceptable to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc., Scalia Chimed in:
What about the devil worshippers?
Scalia meant it as somewhat of a joke, but his point was clear, it is impossible to design a prayer that is going to be acceptable to everyone. Of course, he doesn’t seem to understand the implication of his own argument and concludes that we should have prayers but do nothing to ensure they are acceptable to others. He is essentially arguing that each individual should have the right to make their prayer as sectarian as they wish within a government assembly and the government isn’t allowed to say squat about it. He seems to ignore the much easier solution of just not having organized prayers at all, which would allow every one to engage in their own private prayers (or not) if they so wished. Or perhaps he thinks prayer only works when done as a group?
Thing thing that always irks me about people like Scalia is that they cannot even follow the advice of the one they claim is god incarnate.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:5-6.
When I was a believer I always thought of prayer as a chance to communicate with God. Scalia and the many people who use government meetings as a forum for prayer seem more interested in showing off, and at times even seem to use their prayers to create political disputes. How exactly is this in line with their religious teachings?