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The issue of prayers in council meetings

(67 Posts)
thatbags Mon 12-Jan-15 10:07:12

This is a short youtube video (less than two minutes) which explains very clearly why the National Secular Society opposes the introduction of a new law designed to compel all councillors to attend prayers before council meetings.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 12-Jan-15 10:17:49

Who the f--- cares?

Mishap Mon 12-Jan-15 10:20:10

Tiis is over a year old - I get information from the secular society and have a feeling in the back of my mind that things might have changed.

Elegran Mon 12-Jan-15 10:42:16

Jings would it be OK for all council members to be compelled to attend a voodoo session?

Ana Mon 12-Jan-15 10:47:06

I don't think there's any suggestion that council members would be 'compelled' to attend prayers before council meetings. If a council chooses to hold prayers (and many would not) members would be perfectly free to skip them...

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 12-Jan-15 10:50:24

Yeah! That we be great Elegran! Even I might stand for being a councillor.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 12-Jan-15 10:50:43


Elegran Mon 12-Jan-15 11:20:14

To be fair, perhaps they could all take turns to provide the prayers, with a prayerless day for the atheists? That way, everyone would get a moment to see how the others approach their God/nongod. It might de-demonise the not-us.

Mishap Mon 12-Jan-15 11:27:18

Why not just get on with the job?

ninathenana Mon 12-Jan-15 11:56:27

I wouldn't give a flying fig if my councillor prayed for guidance or not before a meeting as long as he agreed to sort the damn potholes or whatever. !!

granjura Mon 12-Jan-15 14:40:53

imho it would be totally out of order to introduce such a Law- unless the request for guidance is done in a totally non religious way!!! And yes, jingl, I do care. I am a councillor and atheist- and I would truly resent having to go through this charade. I did not marry in Church for that reason, nor had my children baptized, or agreed to be a Godmother- as I hate to lie. Thanks.

Nelliemoser Mon 12-Jan-15 14:58:01

Nina grin

No one should be compelled to go nor should they be banned.

Mind you if they made prayers compulsory it might at least make sure everyone got there as soon as possible so they can get straight down to work when they have finished.

They could do with some sort of non religious "mindfulness" ceremony before beginning.

vampirequeen Mon 12-Jan-15 15:28:58

To get them there on time it might be more effective to compel them to meet for tea and biscuits before the meeting. Mind you they'd have to make sure they offer decaf as well as ordinary tea, plus green tea or redbush and all the other teas. Then there are the coffee drinker. Full caf, decaf, Fairtrade, not Fairtrade, Nescafe, not Nescafe, instant and ground. Don't forgot the milk. Jersey, full fat, semi skimmed, skimmed, lactose free and the rest. Brown sugar, white sugar, light golden sugar, sugar cubes and granules making sure they get Fairtrade and non Fairtrade varieties. Oh and a selection of honey for the non sugar users who still want a natural sweetner. Oh no what about those who want artificial sweetners. They'd need to make sure they have the full range in both tablet and granule form.

Then there are the biscuits. It would seem on the face of it to be simple. Just get a selection but what about the vegetarians and the vegans. Don't forget those who need gluten free or can't eat nuts. And watch how everything is stored.

vampirequeen Mon 12-Jan-15 15:29:22

Can't they simply have to arrive on time.

Eloethan Mon 12-Jan-15 15:30:47

I think there was a ruling that prayers should not be held but then Eric Pickles said that councils could hold prayers before meetings if they wished to.

Personally, I think it is inappropriate for prayers to be held before a council meeting or any other meeting that isn't specifically relating to the religion in question - and I guess they can only be C of E prayers even if the councillors are not Christians? It is divisive and unnecessary.

jingle Viewing it from a different angle, would you be happy for readings from other religions' holy scriptures or atheist or humanist doctrine to be given an exclusive "spot" before all meetings?

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 12-Jan-15 15:56:05

Why are you asking me? I've already said I don't give a f--- what they do.

Leticia Mon 12-Jan-15 16:02:18

Surely you just opt out of the prayers?

PRINTMISS Mon 12-Jan-15 16:57:43

Quite Leticia, you can attend, but no one can actually make you pray!

thatbags Mon 12-Jan-15 17:32:02

It's not over a year old. It's happening now.
"Posted: Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:49
Council prayers bill makes progress: MP “rejoices” to live in country with established Church
The Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill to allow councillors to be summoned to pray has passed a further stage on its race to becoming law."

"summoned to pray"... OK, you can't make anyone pray but you shouldn't be able to force them to be where other people pray either. Councillors can pray in their own time if they want to and not restrict themselves to the established religion either if they don't wish to.

Can't help wondering why people who don't give a fuck about such things fuck around on threads about such things. I suppose it's just to let us know they don't give a fuck. Sweet of them.

thatbags Mon 12-Jan-15 17:32:31

Meant to say the stuff inside "" is from the NSS website.

Eloethan Mon 12-Jan-15 17:45:03

Well, I do care and I think it is totally wrong that, in this day and age, such a practice is thought acceptable.

I feel that people who are truly committed to their faith would better demonstrate that commitment by going to church on Sunday and boosting the ever dwindling attendance numbers.

Greenfinch Mon 12-Jan-15 17:54:28

We find grace before meals divisive in our household. We never say it as a family but we sometimes have guests who want to say it. Out of politeness my DH allows this to happen but in private later he blows his top although we don't challenge the one who wants to say it. We find it offensive in a group made up of atheists, Christians, believers in other faiths and those who could not care less . Surely they could just offer up their thanks in silence if they so wish. Apologies for digressing.

Ana Mon 12-Jan-15 17:58:17

"The Bill is designed to overturn a High Court ruling that the practice of holding prayers during council meetings was unlawful. The ruling resulted from an application by the National Secular Society and a councillor who objected to such prayers." (from the NSS article of 9th January 2015).

So it's OK to make the practice illegal, but not OK to give Councils the choice? hmm

thatbags Mon 12-Jan-15 18:02:38

Why do councils need such a choice? Individual councillors already have full religious freedom. Making praying or sitting through praying time or having to leave during praying time is not giving the same freedom to people who don't belong to the established church as the people who want official praying time already have. It's an imposition. Not having prayers imposes on no-one and prevents no-one from following or practising their own faith/beliefs.

thatbags Mon 12-Jan-15 18:04:08

Greenfinch, that's not a digression at all. It illustrates the imposition point very well. Thank you.