MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR: Did Justice Scalia Stand Up for Atheists?

Did one of the most conservative justices on the Supreme Court recognize atheists in the recent Supreme Court hearing of a case challenging legislative prayer? According to the Greece v. Galloway transcript, Justice Scalia asked Thomas G. Hungar, arguing in support of the town of Greece, if he had a problem with the Supreme Court’s opener of ‘God save the United States and this Honorable Court’ and stated, “There are many people who don’t believe in God.” When Hungar said the phrase was okay, Scalia asked, “Why is that okay?” Hungar didn’t have a clear answer. But maybe Scalia was playing devil’s advocate?

We humanists and atheists know that legislative prayer is not okay, and we’re hopeful that the Supreme Court Justices will recognize how prayer excludes the growing population of atheists and agnostics in the United States. As one of our fans wrote on the AHA’s Facebook page, “[Legislators] are not there to pray, meditate, or read tea leaves. They are there to govern, litigate, and to represent their constituents.” Tell us your thoughts at

Maggie Ardiente
Editor, HNN