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NSC 1, God Nil

The high court ruling that Bideford Council should
stop opening its meetings with prayers seems right to me, even if it does place
me on the same side as the National Secular Society.    

Mr. Justice Ouseley has ruled in favour of one Clive
Bone, a former Bideford councilor, an avowed atheist, who brought a case
against the Devon town’s council on the
grounds that the prayer sessions made him feel uncomfortable.  The NSC, which supported Mr. Bone’s action,
welcomed the ruling as a landmark decision. 
Christian and other religious groups – the God lobby – have predictably denounced
it as a harbinger of doom for British religious traditions – whatever those may
be.  I suppose they mean those traditions
propagated by a church founded on a royal divorce and the filching of the
possessions, not to mention the attendant persecution, of its Catholic
predecessor.        

I’m all for eliminating prayer, not only from council
chambers but from the national parliament, as well as from schools and all other
public institutions.  Having said that,
it’s not an issue over which I’ve lost much sleep.  If it were, I’d have been fretting about the
role of religion in the highest reaches of Britain’s
governing institutions, starting with the monarch, who reigns over us as the
head of the only established church in the advanced industrial world, its
bishops selected by Downing Street and
approved by the Palace.  

The zealots at the NSC are no doubt outraged over that
as well, and will campaign for reform until the link is severed.  I agree with them, as it happens, but not
with sufficient enthusiasm to join the cause. 
An established church is clearly an anachronism, but while we’re having
a go, so is the monarchy itself.  But
while my intellectual leanings are unabashedly republican, these too are only half-baked.      

Why can’t common sense prevail?  Why can’t the good elected officials of
Bideford, and every other council in the land, just settle for a moment of
silence before their proceedings.  That
way the religious members could quietly commune with their gods while the
atheists and agnostics indulged in a moment of whatever it might be upon which
they might wish to reflect.   Ditto
parliament and the schools.

The story reminds me of an anecdote of his schooldays related
by a friend of mine.  He remembers attending
morning assembly at which the headmaster would announce, before proceeding to
prayers, “Would all Papists and descendants of Abraham now kindly leave the
hall.”

Now that might have made for an interesting High Court
case.

NSC 1, God Nil

 

The high court ruling that Bideford Council should
stop opening its meetings with prayers seems right to me, even if it does place
me on the same side as the National Secular Society.    

Mr. Justice Ouseley has ruled in favour of one Clive
Bone, a former Bideford councilor, an avowed atheist, who brought a case
against the Devon town’s council on the
grounds that the prayer sessions made him feel uncomfortable.  The NSC, which supported Mr. Bone’s action,
welcomed the ruling as a landmark decision. 
Christian and other religious groups – the God lobby – have predictably denounced
it as a harbinger of doom for British religious traditions – whatever those may
be.  I suppose they mean those traditions
propagated by a church founded on a royal divorce and the filching of the
possessions, not to mention the attendant persecution, of its Catholic
predecessor.        

I’m all for eliminating prayer, not only from council
chambers but from the national parliament, as well as from schools and all other
public institutions.  Having said that,
it’s not an issue over which I’ve lost much sleep.  If it were, I’d have been fretting about the
role of religion in the highest reaches of Britain’s
governing institutions, starting with the monarch, who reigns over us as the
head of the only established church in the advanced industrial world, its
bishops selected by Downing Street and
approved by the Palace.  

The zealots at the NSC are no doubt outraged over that
as well, and will campaign for reform until the link is severed.  I agree with them, as it happens, but not
with sufficient enthusiasm to join the cause. 
An established church is clearly an anachronism, but while we’re having
a go, so is the monarchy itself.  But
while my intellectual leanings are unabashedly republican, these too are only half-baked.      

Why can’t common sense prevail?  Why can’t the good elected officials of
Bideford, and every other council in the land, just settle for a moment of
silence before their proceedings.  That
way the religious members could quietly commune with their gods while the
atheists and agnostics indulged in a moment of whatever it might be upon which
they might wish to reflect.   Ditto
parliament and the schools.

The story reminds me of an anecdote of his schooldays related
by a friend of mine.  He remembers attending
morning assembly at which the headmaster would announce, before proceeding to
prayers, “Would all Papists and descendants of Abraham now kindly leave the
hall.”

Now that might have made for an interesting High Court
case.

NSC 1, God Nil

 

The high court ruling that Bideford Council should
stop opening its meetings with prayers seems right to me, even if it does place
me on the same side as the National Secular Society.    

Mr. Justice Ouseley has ruled in favour of one Clive
Bone, a former Bideford councilor, an avowed atheist, who brought a case
against the Devon town’s council on the
grounds that the prayer sessions made him feel uncomfortable.  The NSC, which supported Mr. Bone’s action,
welcomed the ruling as a landmark decision. 
Christian and other religious groups – the God lobby – have predictably denounced
it as a harbinger of doom for British religious traditions – whatever those may
be.  I suppose they mean those traditions
propagated by a church founded on a royal divorce and the filching of the
possessions, not to mention the attendant persecution, of its Catholic
predecessor.        

I’m all for eliminating prayer, not only from council
chambers but from the national parliament, as well as from schools and all other
public institutions.  Having said that,
it’s not an issue over which I’ve lost much sleep.  If it were, I’d have been fretting about the
role of religion in the highest reaches of Britain’s
governing institutions, starting with the monarch, who reigns over us as the
head of the only established church in the advanced industrial world, its
bishops selected by Downing Street and
approved by the Palace.  

The zealots at the NSC are no doubt outraged over that
as well, and will campaign for reform until the link is severed.  I agree with them, as it happens, but not
with sufficient enthusiasm to join the cause. 
An established church is clearly an anachronism, but while we’re having
a go, so is the monarchy itself.  But
while my intellectual leanings are unabashedly republican, these too are only half-baked.      

Why can’t common sense prevail?  Why can’t the good elected officials of
Bideford, and every other council in the land, just settle for a moment of
silence before their proceedings.  That
way the religious members could quietly commune with their gods while the
atheists and agnostics indulged in a moment of whatever it might be upon which
they might wish to reflect.   Ditto
parliament and the schools.

The story reminds me of an anecdote of his schooldays related
by a friend of mine.  He remembers attending
morning assembly at which the headmaster would announce, before proceeding to
prayers, “Would all Papists and descendants of Abraham now kindly leave the
hall.”

Now that might have made for an interesting High Court
case.

 

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