Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Coalition's first foray into the defence of Christianity

A row has been brewing over recent months about prayers before council meetings. The National Secular Society has instructed a solicitor to take its battle with Bideford Town Council, in Devon, to the High Court, claiming the policy breaches human rights.

The litigation comes after atheist councillor Clive Bone raised objections to the prayers being integrated into proceedings.

Holding prayers before council meetings is 'not appropriate in modern-day Britain' and may even be putting off potential members, the NSS believes.

They argue that formal recitation of prayers at the meetings breaches Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Now the group is seeking a judicial review to settle the issue.

NSS executive director Keith Porteous-Wood said: "We've instructed our solicitor to go the High Court. We had a complaint from a Bideford councillor (Mr Bone) about the prayers. He's an atheist and found it embarassing and inappropriate that this should be an integral part of the meeting."

Writing on the NSS website, he explained: "The councillor objects to being subjected to prayers, or having to leave the chamber while they are said. Elected councillors of public bodies should not be put in such an uncomfortable and embarrassing position. The council's purpose is to provide local services, not church services.

"The councillor is aware of potential councillors who are put off becoming candidates because of this archaic practice. The practice is therefore interfering with operation of local democracy.

"There is a chronic shortage of candidates and unnecessary obstacles to new councillors should be discouraged.

"It is nonsense to claim that the rights of councillors to manifest their religion would be restricted if the review is successful.

"Councillors can, like anyone else, go to church or pray at home whenever they wish, and indeed we do not have a problem with them praying separately before or after council meetings.

"But it is not appropriate in modern-day Britain for prayers to form an integral part of the council meeting."

Letters written to the council, claiming that the prayers are illegal, have not changed its attitude, leaving the NSS to take legal action, he said.

A win in the High Court would set a precedent as thousands of other councils (not to mention both Houses of Parliament) also say prayers before their meetings. Similar issues with pre-meeting prayers have arisen at Wellington Council, Shropshire, Torbay Council, in Devon, and at Whaley Bridge, in Derbyshire.

Mayor of Bideford Phil Pester said: "We took the decision that we would see what the judge says about it. It won't cost us anything at this stage. If the judge decides it is illegal then, fair enough, we will think again. Until such time we are sitting tight. We took two democratic votes on this and there has been a substantial majority in favour of the prayers. We only have 12 full council meetings a year. The prayers last about four minutes. It is a minuscule amount of time."

But the new Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has responded rather robustly, saying: "While I cannot comment on a specific court case, the new Government recognises and respects the role that faith communities play in our society.

"Prayers are an important part of the religious and cultural fabric of the British nation.

"While the decision on whether to hold prayers is a matter for local councils, I want to ensure that they continue to have the freedom to do so."

Freedom to pray? Freedom to maintain the distinctive Christian character of the nation? Freedom to preach orthodox Christian views? This is The Coalition's first foray into the religion-equality quagmire created by Labour.

Eric Pickles, Defender of the Faith.


Blogger Jonathan Hunt said...

So long as there is a local majority in favour. I do wonder how many of the councillors actually know God or pray in their ordinary daily lives.

30 May 2010 at 09:41  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

If they retain the right to prayers, the catch twenty two will be muslims claiming it should be five times a day.

Some would have sympathy with the notion of councillors and MPs getting on their knees and pleading for mercy.

30 May 2010 at 09:50  
Blogger Mat said...

Whilst I accept that you and these councillors have freedom of religion you have to respect that those around you have freedom from it. Why subject atheists to prayer in a council meeting? This is massively unprofessional and inappropriate, and if councillors wish to pray together they can simply meet for a few minutes before-hand. Why must your force this on people?

30 May 2010 at 09:55  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So let's get this straight. We have a po-faced atheist using Article 9, ECHR, to prosecute Christians who are exercising their right to four minutes of religious freedom under the same Article 9?

I think Councillor Bonehead needs to extract his fat head from up his fat backside and look up the meaning of the word "compromise". Or learn to stick his fingers in his ears. Or even attend the meeting a few minutes late.

And who gets to foot the bill for this crap? Oh wait, lemme guess...

30 May 2010 at 10:02  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Of course, another effective compromise would be for the devout to say a private prayer before the meeting. That way no one would be upset. Not even our Muslim friends.

30 May 2010 at 10:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why must atheists force a minority understanding about the value of prayer on everyone else?

Nobody can be forced to pray. If prayers are said, prayers are said. All anyone has to do not to participate is to not say amen.

Someone who is too thin skinned to sit quietly through a part of a meeting in which things are being said with which they disagree doesn't deserve the privilege of serving as a representative anyway.

Who cares if praying makes people uncomortable? Do we prioritise comfort or open exchange?

The democratic thing is not to ban things you don't like, but to tolerate them. To tolerate something, of course, you first have to disagree with it. To protest is fine, but to seek to ban is undemocratic.

30 May 2010 at 10:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30 May 2010 at 10:20  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Please do not publish private telephone numbers.

30 May 2010 at 10:23  
Anonymous Michael said...

'Freedom to preach orthodox Christian views.'

I suspect there's a man up in North Ayrshire and Arran who might take slight issue with that. Amongst various others.

Even so, welcome news.

30 May 2010 at 10:47  
Blogger Observer said...

Religion is a private matter; Councillors should not have to attend a prayer meeting before getting on with what they were elected to do, run local government. There would be nothing to stop those of a religious bent from praying privately beforehand should they need divine inspiration to organise the emptying of the bins and other matters.

On the other hand I wouldn't take the matter to court as it just encourages moaning. If I was the atheist Councillor I would just skip the prayers and do something more productive with my four minutes instead.

30 May 2010 at 10:54  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

I don't think there should be prayers on these occasions. It is not a meeting of a church, or even of a group of like-minded Christians. I think this is a throwback to Christendom, which is fast and mercifully receding with ever increasing speed into the shameful past. It was the assumption of Christendom, with its 'Christian princes', 'Christian Europe' and 'Christian England' that burned the original Cranmer, and many others like him, for crimes of heresy.

So goodbye to all that. It's nearly over. We should thank God instead of regretting it.

Having said that, I am at a loss to understand why any atheist should object to this quaint practice. After all, they don't believe in God, so they don't believe that these prayers actually achieve anything. It isn't as if they suspect that a powerful spell is being incanted. They think the prayers are nothing more than talking to the air. So what possible objection could they have to their continuance, as a mere piece of cultural ornament?

Sometimes you can't please anybody.

30 May 2010 at 11:16  
Anonymous Michael said...

@Anabaptist - to be pedantic, Cranmer was sentenced for treason, not heresy. Although I accept that, historically speaking, the lines between those two things can be somewhat blurry if one accepts your critique of Church and State, secular and religious etc etc.

30 May 2010 at 11:37  
Blogger Scrigg said...

Everybody prays in one form or another, I don't care what you say.

30 May 2010 at 11:38  
Anonymous philip walling said...

If this Bond fellow doesn't believe in anything outside what the silly man can perceive with his senses then what's the problem with prayers? If there's no God, then it is at worst a pointless waste of four minutes at the start of the day. But seeing that most of what happens on local councils is pointless, why is he objecting to this particular bit of pointlessness? Why can't he just put his fingers in his ears during prayers and go 'la,la,la,la...' to himself?

Also, it doesn't sound terribly 'democratic' that he should be trying to force the majority to bow to the wishes of a minority; perhaps he ought to resign if he doesn't like the outcome of the vote.

I don't know about your other worthy correspondents, Your Grace, but I for one am heartily sick of such silly, arid, shrill people trying to destroy the basis of our body politic. They prey on our good nature and forbearance and quite simply are taking the mickey, aided and abetted by the European courts.
Thank God for Eric Pickles, if he is indeed trying to stand up to such people.

And a footnote; there is nothing anachronistic or irrational about prayer, religious faith and practice. It's Bond who is out of date, arrogant and irrational.

30 May 2010 at 11:45  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Micahel -- Yes, you are of course correct. In both particulars -- it was indeed treason. But as your second part suggests, that crime was inextricable from theological and ecclesiological positions, practices and beliefs.

Once kings are given power over religious belief and practice, and once church authorities are given power in the administration of the state, what emerges is not and cannot be Christianity, whatever terminology and external forms are employed.

30 May 2010 at 12:01  
Anonymous Bob Doney said...

Judging by the state we're in - locally and nationally - the prayers clearly aren't working.

30 May 2010 at 12:03  
Blogger DiscoveredJoys said...

The weakness in the case is that the Church of England is Established and therefore part of government.

The weakness in opposing the case is what happens if a majority of councillors in some democratically elected body are atheists, or Muslims, or some other sect or religion that believes in private prayer? Do protestants and Roman Catholics pray together in NI council meetings?

In the end it comes down to whether or not prayer is a legal act for a council meeting. If not it is merely a matter of making suitable arrangements outside the meeting, and ideally outside the meeting chamber.

30 May 2010 at 12:11  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Does he have to be present whilst prayers are being said? When I was at school back in the late '40s there were several Jewish boys who did not join us at assembly in the morning, but came in afterwards for the Headmaster's notices.
What's wrong with that?

30 May 2010 at 12:14  
Anonymous robert said...

Surely prayers are said by tradition in a Christian country in councils, parliament, schools etc.
Do atheists have more rights than Christians? I think not.
I agree with some previous postings about school. Jews, Catholics and others did not participate in the prayers but joined assembly after prayers.
The atheist councillors concerned can do the same.

30 May 2010 at 13:03  
Anonymous Simon Too said...

Your Grace,

Anabaptist has a good point - how can an atheist be "subjected" to prayers? An antitheist maybe, but not an atheist. An atheist might be able to claim that council time was being wasted on something ineffectual, but that might be the thin end of the wedge for council business in general.

Observer on the other hand makes a bizarre suggestion, that religion is a private matter. Conscience might be private, but religion is public.

30 May 2010 at 13:14  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Councillor Bone is a prat.

If the rest of the council are happy with the prayer session then he, if he is a conscientious atheist, should just let it pass. We live in a pluralistic society where if atheists are to achieve credibility in public life should accept that all that is happening is that amount of council time is being wasted by a few mutterings of nonsense. Drawing attention to his professed ‘beliefs’ is nothing more than an act of self promotion that is stupidly being taken on board by the NSS who will achieve nothing but attract derision for their intolerance of tradition taking up such an .

Bone should wake up to the fact that sometimes silence says more than mere words.

30 May 2010 at 13:42  

Religion is the least private of matters.

30 May 2010 at 14:11  
Blogger Philip said...

DiscoveredJoys has hit the nail on the head. While the Church of England is linked to the running of the country through the Act of Establishment it is clearly able to be argued that it is a part of the make up of the UK.
It is slightly worrying that a councillor is so clueless about how the country works, even though he is a part of the inner workings!

This might end up bringing the suggestions that Labour were mumbling about, regarding disestablishment, to a head and making a decision one way or the other. More likely is that it will only come up once the Queen dies and the "Defender of Faiths" takes to the throne.

But the question still remains, why is (an ill-informed) someone who works for a country that is insanely in debt taking action that will take public money over something so pointless?

30 May 2010 at 14:19  
Blogger English Viking said...

If one reads carefully what Pickles has said, you will find that he mentions only religion and not Christianity.

We should be careful what we wish for, as I can see this leading to every Tom, Dick and Abdul demanding their rights to practice their witchcraft before all kinds of Council meetings.

30 May 2010 at 14:58  
Blogger DaveF said...

So it seems that the Secularists (those most irrational theologians) are at it again. I feel terribly sorry for the poor injured Mr Bone - I hope his fractured, tormented soul heals soon. Will these NSS people foot the bill for the court case if they lose? If so, I'll gladly send them a fiver to help..

30 May 2010 at 15:34  
Blogger Scrigg said...

Throw him to the ground and whip him 'till he bleeds. When he thinks, 'I wish this would stop', he will be praying.

Who is it we make wishes to? I wish I was rich, I wish this, I wish that!

The evil one wishes to remove the air of reverence from all things. Even he prays.

30 May 2010 at 15:39  
Anonymous Oswin said...

A few moments of prayer serve to concentrate both soul and mind. For the non-religious those few moments of quietude are of equal importance.

Who could object to the general sentiment of those simple prayers reminding us of duty and responsibility?

The affable, gentle compromise of C-of-E civil observances have been honed by history to allow each, according to his own, the beneficence of public service.

Those of differing religious faiths can surely, and silently, ammend accordingly?

We should embrace the bumbling beauty of our State religion for the wisdom of its compromise; for our history has oftentimes witnessed otherwise.


Ps. If the Bone requires a dog to gnaw upon it; let it study history!

30 May 2010 at 15:50  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Scrigg at 11.38 - an interesting point; I wonder if it is true? I suspect you might be right; and if not, then how ineffably sad, how hollow!

What does an atheist do, during those moments when others would pray? Does he say to himself ''I'll have a few moments of reflection and quiet repose''?

And then what? What has 'gone out' ? What has 'come in' ? What has filled, or emptied, or balanced?

Perhaps some 'yogi' could provide a reasonable (?) alternative; but one doubts that it is somehow quite the same.

Perhaps an atheist might address Mr. Scrigg's assertion : ''That everyone prays...'' ?

30 May 2010 at 16:25  
Blogger Ray said...

Communal prayer started as groups of people with similar beliefs gathering together to avoid persecution. Then it became a form of checking everybody was obeying and attending and was paying for their fix, and now the forced religion seen at these types of meetings is more often than not, and rightly so, not practised.
You can see the comparisons with other addictive groups. Heroin addicts gather together to share needles, spiritual addicts all drink from the same chalice.
Addictions that force people to gather together and give evidence of their continuied use of the drug continue. Why do you need to parade your addiction in public ? If you must have it then get your fix at home.
Remember you don't need to be a christion, catholic, baptist, presbyterian, or muslim etc etc to have and show compassion, or love, or any of the other human feelings.

30 May 2010 at 16:36  
Blogger taskermax said...

I wonder what he means by "Modern day Britain"? Is he refering to the Godless, immoral age we now live in.

30 May 2010 at 16:46  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Ray at 16.36 - a somewhat cynical, one-dimensional and joyless appraisal; and similarly unconvincing.

I ask again, what does an atheist do during those moments when others would pray? Never mind telling me that the atheist may have: ''...compassion, love, or any of the other human feelings.'' I take that as read (I'm a generous soul me)...I would like a more definite answer, if at all possible?

30 May 2010 at 16:53  
Anonymous Simon said...

These people are paid from YOUR tax money. If they wish to express their privately held views on matters of personal conscience, they should be free to do so, in their own time, in a place where they are free to do so, and at their own expense. They should not be paid to do so with MY money.

Whilst I am an Atheist, I see this entirely as a matter regarding public funds; get on with your blinking job.

I very much doubt my employer would allow me 5 minutes to do something so personal - rightly so!

30 May 2010 at 16:56  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I struggle to comprhend what Mr Bone is knawing upon , meetings are opened and closed , he his entitled to his view but so are others , councillors often have to sit through differing objections during a meeting , hasnt he got the understanding that some council members see it as right to say prayers before a meeting ? He can of course silently protest and defiantly not partake in trying to commune with a just and ominpotent being to seek guidance during proceedings .

He is free to not partake in prayers , why does he want to take others freedom (harmless to him as he believes he do without god) and make a cheap shot at the irrellevance of religous belief in political service based on his own limited indoctrinations and rants.

Not appropiate in this modern age ?suggests he sees it as fashion rather than neccessity to good and proper meetings .

In some ways I always love the NSA spokes people , they nearly get to escaping the box of constructs via Satre and terming those who have a faith as mentally ill, when all of a sudden there own infallability occures to them and they rush off for biological determinations .

Your grace may have caught the daily mail article "afterworld thoughts at moment of death may be due to brains last grasp of life mechanics" .They may also be due to a spiritual world being made manefest as we slip from life at our appointed time , I dont mind them trying to make bunkum out god , but I do get raher cross that when boiled down to a Daily Mail article they are only articulate enough to put forward a question that is dumb enough to tell people , that they have fully comprehended the human level of understanding.!

30 May 2010 at 16:59  
Blogger Preacher said...

Right on the money, We all have to respect one anothers rights of belief or none. While being free to agree or disagree without acrimony. The few moments of prayer before a meeting will at least create time for reflection on the issues about to be addressed. As a mark of respect I have sat through many peoples 'prayers', this doesn't mean that I agree or accept them, just that I respect the person praying, a matter of common courtesy. I agree with you that the Secularist Society will lose a lot of credibility over this, so I'm rather surprised at them taking it on. If councilor Bone feels so strongly Anti prayer, then surely a man of such high intellect, a paragon of humour , freed from the bonds of religous belief could smile graciously & have another cup of coffee before entering the chamber, instead of appearing as a pompous buffoon.

30 May 2010 at 16:59  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Further, I don't necessarily ''drink from the same chalice'' as others, during civil observances; I share the time, alloted for our prayers. As I indicated, the C-of-E is singularly and wisely enlightened in such matters.

30 May 2010 at 17:00  
Blogger John M Ward said...

English Pensioner (above) has the right idea.

Our Council has the short address and prayers by the Mayor's Chaplain (or guest "deputy") at the start of a Council meeting as usual, and those who do not wish to participate come in afterward.

It is a simple but effective compromise arrangement. Of the 55 councillors, I think there are only three or four who stay outside for the duration, all non-Conservatives by the way.

30 May 2010 at 17:00  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Preacher at 16.59 - yet again, sound common sense. Although, I disagree that the Bone be excused 'prep'....he should exercise public politeness and, if necessary, think his own thoughts, whatever they may be.

30 May 2010 at 17:07  
Anonymous Oswin said...

My apologies for banging-on about this; but it is a sorry world if we cannot accept an element of compromise, a mild 'hypocrisy' even, if the result is neither arduous or damaging. Or do we dispense with all elements of ceremony?

30 May 2010 at 17:13  
Blogger Preacher said...

Totally agree, but given the issue I didn't wish to suggest that he may consider courtesy & good manners to be cosistent with his bombastic attitude to his fellow councillors. that would be stretching credibility too far.

30 May 2010 at 17:18  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Secular-extremism is as damaging as religious extremism; although dissimilar they both serve to destroy, whilst simultaneously inciting the other to further iniquity!

If it ain't bust, don't mend it!

As you say Preacher, the bombastic Bone lacks grace!

30 May 2010 at 17:31  
Anonymous len said...

Ezekiel wrote: "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered, 'O Lord God, Thou knowest.'" (Ezek. 37:1-3).

30 May 2010 at 17:37  
Anonymous robert said...

Councillor Bone's reference to modern day Britain means post 13 years of New Labour Britain.
Labour were obsessed by being on the side of numerous minority pressure groups and the people in general felt they were being ignored.
New Labour went on to loose the election.
The atheist is welcome to his beliefs but must not impose them on the decent people of this country.

30 May 2010 at 17:42  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Len - superb!

Please forward to Clive Bone immediately!

30 May 2010 at 17:46  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Thankyou Len for that thought .

30 May 2010 at 18:09  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

It is plain that this is all about "making a point" and nothing to do with "feeling embarrassed" If I were in the presence of a member of another faith at prayer I would respectfully observe a silence provided my patience was not unduly tried - which 4 minutes hardly does. We are a Nation with a State Church which is mandated to pray for the Government and it is rather odd to have that in place but to find a problem with those in office praying for their own guidance.

The old Ecology Party used to begin its sessions with a short period of "attunement" during which the religious could pray, the non religious collect their thoughts and all come to order before the meeting commenced. Perhaps this might assist. The dullard could "attune" on his own to his heart's content whilst the rest restored their sense of answering to a higher power.

30 May 2010 at 18:16  
Anonymous Jamess said...

Interesting... this is the second time I've read of Mr Pickle today:

Seems like a good man to watch - anyone know anything else about him?

30 May 2010 at 18:29  
Blogger Scrigg said...


Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

30 May 2010 at 18:44  
Blogger Al Shaw said...

The practice rests upon the mistaken concept of Christendom - that the inhabitants of a state should embrace (or at least outwardly practice) the "official religion" of that state.

Cranmer's reference to "freedom to maintain the distinctive Christian character of the nation" reflects this muddled thnking, in my opinion.

This kind of thing leads to nominalism and phariseeism rather than true love for and obedience to God, which is from the heart and uncoerced.

As a Christian believer, I agree with the humanists on this one.

30 May 2010 at 19:49  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

The atheist is welcome to his beliefs but must not impose them on the decent people of this country

WTF is this – the 11th Commandment??

ROBERT, You are as deluded as Councillor Bonehead – that you infer that an atheist is not a decent person displays stupidity and delusional arrogance beyond mere ignorance.

Oswin you asked what an atheist should do when others appear to be praying; this is difficult to confirm as there is no written creed or canon of recitation that really is comparable with the notion of prayer – nor would I assume to speak for anyone other than myself. If I have ever found myself in the company of others in prayer, I have looked on the situation being celebrated and focused on the essence of the occasion.

If I were a councillor, I imagine I would use the time to remind myself why I was there and to focus on fulfilling the aspirations of the electors.

If at a Christening I would make a wish for the health of the baby and for the family to enjoy the experience of a new life and a new beginning.

At a funeral, I would recall the best qualities of the deceased and count myself fortunate for the times we enjoyed being in each other’s company and say a silent thank you for the shared experience.

My parents, who were cremated, had their ashes buried together in woodland as per their wishes. I wrote a little message which was engraved on a small plaque which reads:-

“And now together in this ground
Beneath these handsome trees
Our Mum and Our Dad, our memories
Live on in next years leaves”

Not exactly Byron or Keats, but it does exactly what it says on the tree.

30 May 2010 at 21:31  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Dreadnaught at 21.31 - I'm obliged to you for your answer; thank you.

30 May 2010 at 22:13  
Blogger Anne said...

This person does not have to put himself up for the Council.

Her Majesty is Head of the Church and the Council needs all the help it can get at the moment, it certainly needs guidance from above to help them spend our money in the best way possible, or perhaps they haven't noticed how angry the people are getting.

Try telling the Pope who is Head of the Catholic Church that saying prayers at certain times is contrary to some-one's Human Rights, or even making the sign of the cross at strangers etc.

30 May 2010 at 23:12  
Blogger Ray said...

Atheistic extremism, is only as extreme as religion is extreme the 2 are irretrievably linked, but without religion atheism doesn't exist, without religion and the torture it has brought to the world, there is no atheism it is a product, a reaction, to religion, as much as the law is a reaction to crime and disorder.Of course I am cynical, there's no Santa claus, and magicians are just people good with their hands.

30 May 2010 at 23:34  
Anonymous len said...

Rather amusingly the National Secular Society wishes to remove all presence of God.
This is rather like King Canute ordering the tide not to come in.
Ask yourself: is there any physical location in this universe where we can hide from the presence of God? The answer, according to Scripture, is a resounding “No!” In fact, King David posed this question directly, asking: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [the grave], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7–10).

David answers the question beautifully: it is futile to search for a place to hide from the presence of God (and it is unwise to try—just ask Jonah!). In this sense, God’s infallible word shows that He is omnipresent—within His vast creation, there is no place where you can hide from His presence.
( And denying God`s existence doesn`t make Him disappear either!)

30 May 2010 at 23:47  
Anonymous len said...

We live in a period of Gods grace and mercy (through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ)
The door is open for man to be redeemed, but time will run out eventually and judgement will begin.
'God wants all men saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.'(1 Timothy 2;4)
But if you( with full knowledge)reject Gods offer of salvation God will respect your wishes.
The aggressive atheism which not only rejects salvation for oneself but would try to close the door for others attempting to go through is to side with the deceiver of mankind (satan) and to make oneself an enemy of God and the Truth.
Eventually( whether you believe it or not)all things will be called to account)

31 May 2010 at 08:47  
Blogger Anne said...

Ah Len, you obviously have never cowered in shelters whilst bombs have been raining down on you yet, prayers kept my family safe, and for you and all that have contributed to this debate, I pray that none of you will ever have such an experience.

There is much evil in this World and there are those that would try to prevent others from following what they believe in, by appealing to an outside body-the Convention on Human Rights, which is an alleged ‘legal way’ of those that seek to remove other people’s rights. However, many people are also beginning to question why are we obeying such an organisation especially when we have our own RIGHTS here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

31 May 2010 at 10:00  
Anonymous len said...

I fortunately just missed the war.
But not entirely ,my mother (when pregnant) was walking along a street in Brighton when a German plane passed over randomly machine gunning the public narrowly missing my mother.
So perhaps I was indirectly involved?

31 May 2010 at 10:41  
Blogger Anne said...

Ah Len, your understanding is there then. If you believe in God, then you must also believe in the Devil. Good and evil. The weak and the strong.

Yet I look at those allegedly in POWER today and I see them as weak, for they are afraid to tell the people the truth of what they have done and are continuing to do in the people’s name.

The people are at last beginning to fight back for their true RIGHTS and this battle whether lost or won in the ECHR will eventually be won by the people, whatever the decision of that organisation.

31 May 2010 at 11:55  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...


"And denying God`s existence doesn`t make Him disappear either!"

But since he has never appeared in the first place then I'm not surprised he can't disappear.

Funnily enough on the flipside it doesn't matter how many people pray how hard and how often none of that seems to make him/her/it appear either.

On the subject of the article, no problem with anybody saying their prayers but do have a problem with them doing it while they are supposed to be working.

Why not come in four minutes earlier and pray off the clock? Problem solved.

And to answer the question of what an atheist prays to. The answer would be nothing due to the lack of belief in a god. If you wish to use word play to try and suggest that an athesit prays when they use the phrase "I wish..." and ask the question how they wish to I can only answer from my point of view. And for me it would be used only to articulate my wants/desires. Either to myself or anyone that is listening at the time to allow them to know what I want to work towards achiving or myself to give a voice and confirmation to my thoughts.

31 May 2010 at 12:07  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

who* they wish to.

Apologies for the typos.

31 May 2010 at 12:08  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Glovner;
"and denying God`s existence doesn`t make Him disappear either!"

But since he has never appeared in the first place then I'm not surprised he can't disappear."

God's name is YHWH. Christ was YHWH in the flesh. His very name, which is Yahshua or Yehshua means YHWH saves.

You either accept this as truth or reject it as a lie.
Your choice.

31 May 2010 at 12:33  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Al Shaw -- Thank you. Well said. You're my man!

31 May 2010 at 14:08  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I'll reject it thanks, just like I will most things that are told to me without any evidence to back it up.

31 May 2010 at 14:13  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

The invocation of magic is not appropriate in the business of the State. Prayers are just about the most absurd and infantile of all religious curiosities. Leave the magic to Paul Daniels at least everyone knows that his are tricks.

31 May 2010 at 14:30  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Graham Davis ....the ''invocation of magic''....''prayers are just about the most absurd and infantile of all religious curiosities.''

Feel better now eh?

What an incredably narrow view of life! I truly feel sorry for you.

However, I shall pray for you.

Should you then perceive some noticeable improvement in your life; feel-free to forward a postal-order/cheque/bank-draft/what-have-you to yours truly....whilst it is indeed true that 'doing good is its own reward' I nevertheless believe that any successful ''invocation'' is deserving in itself too. (Besides, my fridge-freezer died today, together with its entire contents!)

31 May 2010 at 19:08  
Blogger Graham Davis said...


I am afraid I am laid low with a "man" cold at present, I hope that was not your doing. Presumably prayers work in reverse, like black magic?

1 June 2010 at 08:18  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Perhaps you should have been praying for your fridge-freezer rather than the godless. I'm sure it would still be working now if you had.

1 June 2010 at 13:50  
Anonymous Oswin said...

TheGlovner...I'm afraid I gave way to cursing and some measure of violence. These so-called inanimate objects need to be taught a lesson!

Graham Davis tut tut - that's no way to regard anothers best wishes!

1 June 2010 at 20:47  

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