Sunday, 12 February 2012

Religions have no right to dictate how our councils conduct meetings.

A row has blown up over the practise of having prayers at the start of council meetings. 

A former  Bidford Councillor says he is not surprised the High Court ruled against the Town Council for including prayers in the agenda for its meetings.
Clive Bone former councillor in  said he found "people didn't want to stand for the council" because of the inclusion of the prayers.
He said the National Secular Council's case against the council had "nothing to do with intolerance towards religion.
"Religious freedom is an absolute right, and so is freedom from religion."

Of course there has been a outcry from some quarters including communities secretary Eric Pickles.

Pickles said:

"While welcoming and respecting fellow British citizens who belong to other faiths, we are a Christian country, with an established church governed by the Queen."Christianity plays an important part in the culture, heritage and fabric of our nation. Public authorities – be it parliament or a parish council – should have the right to say prayers before meetings if they wish. The right to worship is a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty.
So Pickles for Christian prayers and I suspect much of the arguments for seems to be based more on a cultural basis than a religious one.

I can't call myself a Atheist because I believe that there is a possibility of a Creator or even Creators but cannot call myself an Agnostic really because that covers such a area from

I pretty sure there is no God 

to

There is a God but I don't know his Nature and neither do you?


So basically I'm just an open sceptic.However I am not a Christian even if my culture is one . When attending Funerals or Weddings the only time I enter a church ,. I do not join in the prayers. But enthusiastically join in the Hymns such as Calon Lan Cwm Rhondda and ny favorite Arglwydd Dyma fi. and Carys Mathews shows why below

But in our Legislatures  from English Parish Council (and the name says all) and Welsh Community Councils. To our Assembly and the two Houses at Westminster. The idea of raising one of belief over others is wrong and undemocratic and as Pickles admits has more to do with a English cultural Nationalism than any religious belief.

P.S. In the USA even though there should be separation of church and State religion still plays a prominent part and it is telling that a campaign by Mormon Mitt Romney is taken seriously. Whilst no Non-believer would ever have a chance at the Presidential Nomination of the Democrats or Republicans.

However perhaps in
te context of this I should mention the response of Edward Everett Hale (April 3, 1822 – June 10, 1909) was an American author, historian and Unitarian clergyman. who was was Chaplain of the United States Senate from 1903-0906 . Who when asked.

 “Do you pray for the senators?”


He quickly replied, 

No. After getting to know the senators, I pray for the people.

3 comments:

  1. "Religions have no right to dictate how our councils conduct meetings."

    No they don't. But Councils do have the right to hold prayers before a meeting if they choose to do so democratically. Pickles has introduced an unwelcome sectarian/monarchist element into the debate. Prayers do not have to be sectarian and in most councils this is not how they are intended.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alun

    I disagree . Democracy is not always about the dominance a majority. Why should anyone have to take part in prayers when they don't share the faith.

    If people wish to engage in prayer they should gather before the meeting starts in private

    There would not even be the need for a vote but would be a matter of choice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The UK is composed of four nations.

    Many English people conflate or confuse England with the UK. Pickles is one of them.

    The Church of England is the established (the state) church in England only.

    The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, is not established, and is independent of the state.

    The Church in Wales was disestablished by act of parliament in 1922. It has no connection with the state, and has the status of other nonconformist and RC churches. There is no state church in Wales.

    There is no established church in Northern Ireland.

    However, the Queen of England is the UK’s head of state, and the monarch, as its supreme governor, has by law to be a communicant member of the Church of England. Twenty-six bishops of the C.of E. have an ex-officio right to a seat in the Lords, the legislative upper chamber of the UK’s houses of parliament.

    That sums up one daft aspect of the UK’s constitutional basis. We have a head of state who will always be an Anglican, and have unelected senior Anglicans as of right taking part in legislating – not on our behalf, but on behalf of the Church of England. It is undemocratic, as well as unfair to other religious communities, and those who do not profess any religious faith at all.

    Bad as it is, it’s not by any means the worst aspect of the British constitution...whatever it means, as it has never been codified. It is used to maintain and justify a thoroughly corrupt, elitist and undemocratic system.

    The sooner Wales becomes independent and has a secular state underpinned by a democratic written constitution which protects the rights of its citizens and freedom of religion, with an elected non-executive president, the better.

    ReplyDelete