A High Court ruling has stated that councils have no statutory right to hold prayers at meetings.
The case, brought by the National Secular Society, has resulted in outrage from Tory MPs, the Daily Mail, the Christian Institute and churches. They say this is discrimination against believers and an attempt to destroy Christianity.
They claim it will lead to the end of prayers before Parliament, at remembrance services and that even the Coronation oath will have to be abolished. The Christian Institute also complains that the logic of this decision is that councils won’t even be allowed to sing the national anthem before council meetings!
The Daily Mail ties it in to another legal decision taken by the appeal court, which has upheld the ruling that two Christian guesthouse owners acted unlawfully when they discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to allow them to book a room. Christianity is under attack!
A few years ago, when I lived in Scotland, I was organising a campaign against a PFI school and the fact that it wouldn’t be fit for purpose once built.
We collected petitions, organised a lobby of the council and went to present the petition. However, before we could start we had to wait for prayers.
All of the Tories, Labour and Liberal councillors all began to pray asking for guidance from God and for his help in making wise decisions!
If you needed any more proof that God doesn’t exist then surely the fact that all of these calls for God to help them make wise choices hasn’t resulted in any wise choices is proof enough.
At that council meeting they voted to carry on with the PFI project. Now councillors across the country are voting through massive cuts. In Liverpool they will cut £50m from their budget for 2012/13. Among the cuts are school uniform grants and funding for young people with mental health problems.
Across the country adult care services, children’s care services, day centres for people with disabilities, day centres for the elderly, respite care homes, libraries, youth centres, youth offices, children’s homes are all being cut. So the prayers don’t work.
More seriously we should support all attempts to separate religion from politics.
Religion should not be part of politics or education — it should be a private matter. People should have the right to believe what they want but their beliefs should not be imposed on others who may hold different beliefs or hold none.
The separation of religion from politics and education would help the process of allowing logic and reason to shape our decisions.