Friday, 10 February 2012

Prayers at council meetings

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No doubt you'll have heard, seen or read the news today that a councillor on Bideford Council in Devon has won his petition to stop the council meetings starting with prayer.

I admit to being disappointed at this ruling but as Mike has so rightly said: "you'd never start a business meeting with a prayer item on the agenda".

Taking his wise words to heart I realised that my disappointment was less about the ruling than about the way it's been spun into such big news. I'm sad that there was a need for this to go to court, sad that it was picked up by the secular society, sad about sound bites saying Christianity is only for old men and sad that there are Christians fuelling the flames. In response here are my thoughts.

Why did this need to become legal?
Could the council not have had a calm and civilised discussion about the prayers and the problems that people had with them? If the councillors can't talk about this then what hope is there that they can run the town/district?

How is prayer insulting to anyone?
For the answer to this question I asked Mike and he said he's never felt insulted when being around prayers, he just didn't see the point for him but could see why others might like it.

Christians are just old men
I think not, please can someone young and trendy step forward and talk about their faith and how it is for them, please! Come on churches, role out the youth and change the misunderstanding.

why are Christians fuelling the debate?
I'm not worried that prayers will no longer be on the agenda, I don't need an agenda to pray. Let's just pray before meetings. After all I'm sure the councillors have coffee and chat before the meeting without it being on the agenda. There are battles to be fought and this is not one of them.

In conclusion I don't need an agenda item for prayer


UKViewer said...


I've read the full judgement.

The Judge only ruled that a Public Authority can't legally put Prayer on an Agenda for Business, conducted at public expense.

He found that the complainant, hadn't been discriminated against in any way, any more than the Christians were being discriminated against by not praying officially.

The judgement means that prayer can continue, but not as part of an official council business.

Over dramatized as ever by the media, it's a non-issue.

Emma Major said...

I'm so glad you've read it and brought sense to my blog, the media hype around anything vaguely news-worthy is appalling.