Islamic prayers in council meetings?
CHAPTER 1Amidst all the assertions of the UK being a ‘Christian nation’, and Christian prayer having been ‘a part of council meetings for centuries’, and yesterday’s judgement constituting and ‘assault on Britain’s Christian heritage’, the Localism Act does nothing to strengthen the historic foundation of our liberties. Indeed, there is a grave danger of this clause being (ab)used to undermine the very foundations which Mr Pickles believes it will underpin.
GENERAL POWERS OF AUTHORTIES
Local authority’s general power of competence
(1) A local authority has the power to do anything individuals generally may do
(2) Subsection (1) applies to things that an individual may do even though they are in nature, extent or otherwise –
(a) unlike anything the authority may do apart from subsection (1), or
(b) unlike anything that other public bodies may do
There have been numerous recent court judgements along the lines of Britain being multi-faith and the law not favouring one religion over another. Lord Justice Laws is of the opinion that Christianity deserves no protection in law above other faiths and to do so would be ‘irrational’, ‘divisive, capricious and arbitrary’. He said: “The precepts of any one religion - any belief system - cannot, by force of their religious origins, sound any louder in the general law than the precepts of any other.”
Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson went further, declaring: “We sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths. We are sworn (we quote the judicial oath) to ‘do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will’. But the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity, in whatever form. The aphorism that 'Christianity is part of the common law of England' is mere rhetoric; at least since the decision of the House of Lords in Bowman v Secular Society Limited  AC 406 it has been impossible to contend that it is law.”
It is as if there were no Constitution, no Established Church, no Head of State who is Supreme Governor, and no Oath of Allegiance whereby people swear by Almighty God that they will ‘be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.’ If, in our pluralist, multi-faith, multicultural, politically-correct, non-discriminatory culture, all religions are equal, then it follows (‘logically’) that the general power of competence in the Localism Act may be used by any faith group which constitutes a council majority to include prayers to their particular god as part of that council’s formal business.
His Grace does not know how near Sikhs are to constituting a council majority in Southall, but Muslims in
If a state seeks to be neutral in the effect of its policies then it requires a greater level of state intervention to ensure that inequalities are negated. It also requires that the effect of all policies is balanced for all conceptions of the good. The alternative is that the government is neutral with regards to the justification of its actions, and this demands either the disestablishment of the Church of England or the establishment of the Mosque of England, along with the Gurdwara, Mandir, Vihara of England, and state recognition for the multiplicity of competing religions (including Atheism) which are a feature of the fragmented postmodern context. Faced with this scenario, disestablishment becomes a very attractive option.