Feelings Trump

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Stephen Chapman writes in the Chicago Tribune that Christians may come to regret the Supreme Court’s decision on public prayers. “If Christians attending the local city council meeting had to sit through a prayer to Allah or Vishnu, they would most likely feel excluded and offended. But somehow they think non-Christians should have to put up with the equivalent without complaint or recourse.” The justices in the majority, being Christian, took this blinkered perspective. As the country’s demographics change, however, “Christians may someday find out how it feels to be on the other side. Then they will remember what Jesus said about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. But it may be too late.”

First of all, it is foolish for Chapman to claim that “Christians” think anything as a group about public prayers. A lot of Christians, mostly liberal ones, probably disagreed with the ruling (or would if they knew of it). How does Chapman think that this casual erasure of their existence feels to them? He is, after all, extremely concerned about people’s feelings, using the word “feel” twice in a short post that at no point mentions the Constitution, the First Amendment, or any of the opinions that the justices wrote.

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