Friday, 23 August 2019

Denbighshire should end prayers before council meetings.

When I was in School  the daily assembly, was a protestant  affair  and when that part was over, the doors would be opened and the Catholics pupils were let in .

I can't  remember  if there were any other religious groups, but  even then Irealised that I didn't  share the Christian faith and was either an agnostic  or an atheist (Still wondering in fact) but when  queried why I should take part I was threatened  with corporal punishment.

So I simply remained silent  only joining in the occasional "Welsh" Hymn because I liked it.

It is now 2019 and yet people who do not share the Christian faith are still forced to rake part

The BBC report that.

A councillor is calling for an end to prayers before council meetings and the provision of a prayer room instead.
A prayer is said before the business in the main chamber gets under way at Denbighshire council, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
But Prestatyn North councillor Paul Penlington said it was unfair on people who did not want to participate.
The authority said the tradition was challenged in 2012 but the majority of councillors opted to continue.
"Council meetings should be conducted without anyone feeling compelled to participate in prayers, or feeling excluded, or that they have to absent themselves from any part of the meeting," said Mr Penlington.
Christian prayers are still held before meetings at half of Welsh councils, despite efforts to scrap them.
Five councils do not have them, but 13 pray before the formal start so it is not classed as an agenda item.
The National Secular Society (NSS) said councils "shouldn't be clubs for Christians" but the Church in Wales said prayer or reflection "could be hugely beneficial".
Campaigners have already called for the practice to be abolished.
Despite this, no council has changed its position in 18 months and none have plans to do so.
Denbighshire is the only council to have a formal prayer at the start of full council meetings; 13 others say them before full council meetings commence, so atheists or those of other faiths do not have to attend.
Vale of Glamorgan re-introduced Christian prayers at the request of new mayor Janice Charles after her predecessor, Stuart Egan, had humanist blessings.
Cardiff said it had "representatives from different faiths" to lead prayers.
"I sit quietly waiting for the meeting to begin. I'm not opposed to religion at all, and have suggested a prayer room be provided for those who wish to pray at any time.
"I am only objecting to the use of the council chambers for acts of worship, despite the wishes of those who do not wish to participate."
Three of Denbighshire's 47 county councillors usually sit out when others stand for prayers - which Mr Penlington said had led to complaints from other members.
Prestatyn North county councillor Tony Flynn, who is a devout Christian, said he had raised the issue with officers but was unaware of complaints being made.
"I did ask why people didn't stand when invited and it was explained to me that it was their individual belief and that's fine," he said.
A Denbighshire council spokesman said councillors agreed to continue with prayers after a court case was brought in 2012 which ruled prayers could be said as long as councillors were not formally summoned to attend..
In the United States, seven state constitutions include religious tests that would effectively prevent atheists from holding public office, and in some cases being a juror/witness, though these have not generally been enforced since the early twentieth century The U.S. Constitution permits an affirmation in place of an oath to allow atheists to give testimony in court or to hold public office.

Why should those of us who do not share the Christian or any other Faith if elected to public office be either forced to take part in prayers  or wait outside when councillors complete  them?

One wonders  how many of Denbighshire's 47 county councillors are fully practising Christians, and how they would  accommodate   someone  of another faith.

What am I saying?  It's time  non believers  are not  treated in such  a way.

For those who are truly believers   arrangement can be made where they can meet in another room , before the council meeting to pray .

I wonder how many would turn up?

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