We thought we’d won. A High Court judge ruled that Bideford Town Council couldn’t insist that (Christian) prayers be part of their regular meetings. And quite right too: what does religion have to do with meetings about….roads…and…allotments….and….whatever else it is that town councils occupy themselves with? What is prayer supposed to achieve?
It’s supposed to intimidate people, that’s what. It’s intended to make it more difficult for people who aren’t Christians to participate in public administration. Do you think it might be more difficult for a councillor to gain support for an initiative judged traditionally non-Christian directly after a Christian prayer? Do you think councils are above including words in their prayers that would bias decisions?
That’s why religion has no business in government, including local government and that’s why Justice Ouseley ruled that the council shouldn’t hold prayers as part of its meetings.
Council members can pray as much as they want, of course. The Christian ones could easily have a pre-meeting to pray if they wanted to. Everyone could pray silently to whatever god they wished before during or after the meeting.. But the ruling said that prayers shouldn’t be part of the meeting.
Our Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has simply cancelled this ruling. He, personally, has decided that it’s perfectly fine for Christians to dominate the agenda at council meetings. He thinks that Christians’ views are more important than anyone else’s and has made sure councils can discriminate against non-Christian views.
"By effectively reversing that illiberal ruling, we are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for Parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for long-standing British liberties over modern-day political correctness."
How many times do I have to say this? It is not illiberal to complain about government forcing us to do things we don’t agree with. Its democracy. It is not right for government ministers to to invoke hat they call religious views to trump other people’s viiews. That is simply the ultimate corruption.
My country had the chance to do something amazing and instead it fucked it up so badly that it made things far worse. I am so ashamed.