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A ban on orchestrated public praying is good for believers in intolerance

WHY do people pray in public? Is it to communicate with God or with the rest of humanity? Orchestrated public praying is a bit odd, isn’t it? We ask in light of a High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley’s ruling in favour of a case brought by the National Secular Society (NSS) and a former councillor. They complained that orchestrated acts of prayer in the chambers of town and city halls were not on. The judge agreed. He said:

“I do not think the 1972 Act… should be interpreted as permitting the religious views of one group of councillors, however sincere or large in number, to exclude, or even to a modest extent, to impose burdens on or even to mark out those who do not share their views and do not wish to participate in their expression of them. They are all equally elected councillors.”

This means no council in England or Wales will be free to hold prayers as part of its formal proceedings because prayer is deemed ‘not useful’ to its work.

Clive Bone was the trigger for this bansturbation. Bone, a non-believer, was a Bideford town councillor in Devon. He left because of the council’s “refusal to adjust” its prayer policy. He put his case:

“I wouldn’t have had a problem if it was like when people say grace at a meal, but they had a vicar or a minister in who gave a minisermon and chanted prayers. You could tell that people were cringing.”

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Posted: 11th, February 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews | Comments (5)