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Friday, 10 February 2012

Let us (not) pray!

So, the marginalisation, and erosion, of our Christian culture continues.  Today's news that the High Court has ruled that it is “unlawful” for local town councils to begin their formal meetings with prayer has, rightly, been received with dismay by many - apart from, of course, the Bideford Town ex-councillor who took the Council to court, and the National Secular Society that supported him.

However, this judgement (against which, at least, the Council has been given leave to appeal), opens up a whole 'can of worms'.  It's just three months since, in my capacity as a Force Chaplain, I officiated at a service of remembrance for those members of the former Lanarkshire Constabulary who had died in either the Great War, or World War II.  I made no apology for the fact that I conducted that service in accordance with the Christian tradition - and none of those who were present complained!  Indeed, I had a number of folk come to me afterwards to thank me for what I had said, and the way in which I had conducted the service.  To the best of my knowledge, not all were 'church members', never mind being disciples of Jesus.

Does this judgement, if allowed to stand, mean that a police officer - serving, or former - who is an atheist can take me to court because National Secular Society lawyers could argue that (s)he was being "indirectly discriminated against", in breach of human rights laws?  Now, of course, the judgement was not given on the 'Human Rights' grounds, but on a point of statutory construction of local government legislation.  However, it was on so-called "human rights grounds" that the case was brought - a situation of which many gave warning when that legislation was adopted by ex-PM Tony B Liar (whose QC wife made a pretty penny out of it!).

It is, perhaps, a little ironic that this case judgement has been given as the nation celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of the accession of the present Queen.  Bideford Council had, apparently, previously warned that if the National Secular Societ won its case there could be "far-reaching consequences", including the abolition of the Coronation Oath.  Indeed, if Her Majesty is going to continue to use the sort of wording to which I have referred in my previous post, then she is in danger of having her annual Christmas address to the Nation and Commonwealth banned!

Once again, as has been so frequently demonstrated by the homosexual/lesbian lobby, it seems that those who shout so loudly for tolerance of their position, are the first to deny such tolerance to others!

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