Thursday, March 01, 2012

While English councillors pray, the Welsh can count sheep

When New Labour set the United Kingdom on its inexorable course toward disunity, they probably never envisaged an SNP government or reckoned on secular Welsh socialists. While the Scottish Executive is intent on political separation, the Welsh Executive is pursuing secularisation. Of course, the Church of Wales is already disestablished, so there’s no danger of bishops in the Assembly. But Welsh Labour ministers are also intent on making sure God isn’t on the agenda of any Welsh local authority.

Welsh Conservatives have called on Welsh Labour ministers to explain why they blocked a new power which would have enshrined the rights of Welsh local authorities to hold prayers. The Conservative Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles fast-tracked an order effectively to overrule a controversial High Court decision which threatened Town Hall prayers. But the Welsh Executive (Labour) rejected the invitation of the Conservative-led Coalition to have Welsh local authorities included in the legislation to protect the rights of Welsh Councils.

Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Shadow Minister for Local Government, said: “People across Wales will find it extraordinary that Welsh Labour Ministers would not want to protect the right of local Councils, if they wish, to hold prayers at their meetings. For many families, faith remains an integral part of daily life in Wales so it seems odd that Labour Ministers would reject a simple way to protect the right to worship. Welsh Labour Ministers now need to explain whether they intend to bring forward their own legislation to allow local councils, should they wish, to continue to hold prayers. Failing to defend the rights of local councils speaks volumes about Labour’s attitude towards local democracy and sadly strikes a blow for localism and genuine devolution.”

The High Court judgment related to Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972 which applies to England and Wales. Post-devolution, the Welsh Assembly has the competence to legislate in this area. The Localism Act 2011 which has introduced the general power of competence in England could have been applied to Wales, yet the Labour-run Welsh Assembly Government refused the Coalition Government’s offer for the Act to include Wales (because, one suspects, the Welsh Assembly Government doesn’t really like devolving power to councils...).

18 Comments:

Blogger Slow of Heart said...

Not only is it disestablished but the Welsh church in all its guises is experiencing a haemorrhaging of support among the young.
Rugby is the religion, which just goes to show how very low the Welsh have set the bar (excuse the mixed metaphor), notwithstanding the current team's fine efforts.
With scores of great Welsh saints it is tragic to see the state of Christianity in the Principality.
Of course, it all went wrong with the Reformation, Your Grace, and then the dreaded 18th century 'revival' only made things worse.
Now that chapel worship has been seen for the dry and dusty control mechanism that it is, the faith is viewed as something to be shunned and spurned as Wales looks ahead.
This is a great shame. As St.Arsenios of Paros (d 1877) said: 'The Church in the British Isles will only begin to grow when She begins again to venerate Her own saints.'

1 March 2012 at 08:35  
Blogger snobears said...

I still believe that Wales is predominately a God fearing nation. It just shows that the Labour Party are living on another planet...!

1 March 2012 at 08:36  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Drat. And there I was looking forward to seeing someone take a Welsh Council to court for subjecting them to a Druidic sacrificial ritual ... I think Mr Hain would make a fine sacrifice for a true Druid!

1 March 2012 at 08:38  
Anonymous +Dewi Menevia said...

Thank you, YG, for this timely reminder that the Faith has no guardian in Wales.

Even on this day when we celebrate the sanctified life of David, Patron of Wales, we face the reality of rampant secularisation in every part of the country.

I urge your communicants to spare a thought for Wales today, and to seek the Almighty's blessings on its people.

1 March 2012 at 08:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is misery all the way here in Wales. Top class politicians are not to be found in the Assembly . The Assembly building fondly called 'The Senate' cost 70 million to build and resembles a post war factory. The Queen put it succinctly when she opned it 'Wales has the assembly building it deserves' Some foreign diplomats were so badly treated on that day they swore never to come to Wales again. Medical care is amongst the
worst in the country and the
standard of debate in the assembly makes me blush. No wonder some members are writing Christmas cards whilst they debate. The body responsible for foreign trade was disbanded and since then trade is haemorrhaging . Even the Conservative Party is now backing the existence of the Assembly, betraying us presumably because this gravy train is so attractive to them.

1 March 2012 at 09:14  
Blogger bluedog said...

Further proof, Your Grace, as if any more is needed, that the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom are a complete mess and that a comprehensive re-appraisal is urgently required.

1 March 2012 at 09:58  
Blogger David B said...

So we have someone claiming that Wales is still a God fearing country and someone else claiming that faith is being shunned.

Something strikes me as odd in the expression 'God fearing', anyway.

Is fear the appropriate emotion regarding a putative loving, good God?

I do know some people who go to churches or chapels of some denomination or other, so faith is not quite dead here, though most people I talk to are either atheist, agnostic or, for want of a better term, vaguely spiritual.

Perhaps it is a little OT, but I have sometimes wondered about the historicity of many of the Welsh saints.

St Govan, St Elvis, and their ilk, and in fact I've never found anything concrete to confirm the historicity of St David.

David B

1 March 2012 at 10:23  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

Want a nice unusual house in Wales? Just look at the sales web sites for disused Chapels.

Says it all....

Chestertons poem, Antichrist, or the Reunion of Christendom: An Ode, comes to mind.

http://bit.ly/zffGU2

I think that the verse below is pertinent to us in the UK today :-

In the lands where Christians were,
F. E. Smith,
In the little lands laid bare,
Smith, O Smith!
Where the Turkish bands are busy
And the Tory name is blessed
Since they hailed the Cross of Dizzy
On the banners from the West!
Men don't think it half so hard if
Islam burns their kin and kith,
Since a curate lives in Cardiff
Saved by Smith.

1 March 2012 at 10:44  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

@David B:

Yes, fear of God is entirely appropriate. We do not say "All Honour and Glory and Power are Yours" lightly - and when you encounter Someone who holds such a position, fear is not merely rational but unavoidable.

That God is also infinitely loving, and gave His Son to secure the redemption of all, only serves to demonstrate the extraordinary character of His Grace.

I like how the worship song "Servant King" puts it:

Hands that flung stars into space,
To cruel nails surrendered

1 March 2012 at 11:51  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

I suspect this has as much to do with the centralizing mania of the Labour Party as it has with it's unthinking PC. The idea of a local council taking a decision not validated by The Committee (whoever they may be) is anathema. That sort of thing has to be stamped out as soon as it rears it head, eh comrades?

1 March 2012 at 11:53  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Slow of Hearts @ 08;30. Their comments come with the sad statement that the 18th Cent. revival was 'dreaded'. Even the Reformation derided.
In reality it was an awakening rather than a revival and hundreds of thousands of souls were saved.
This nation now needs a new awakening, reaching out to the lost that they may be saved.
That, along with a new Government that respects our Christian traditions and leads this country with Integrity.

1 March 2012 at 13:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo Ben Soze said...

David B
"Is fear the appropriate emotion regarding a putative loving, good God?"

It's 'fear' as in awe.

"Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment."
(Proverbs 9:10)

" ... most people I talk to are either atheist, agnostic or, for want of a better term, vaguely spiritual."

Maybe you don't listen properly to those people. Or you could be talking to the a self selected group. And "agnostic" or "vaguely spiritual" suggests they might be open to the Truth if they were given sufficient opportunities.

1 March 2012 at 13:45  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Fearing God.

Jer 5:22
22 Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at
my presence,..

The Hebrew words yirah, yare, pachad mean reverent fear,
terror, or dread, normally translated simply fear.

Hebrew for mere respect, reverence, or honor, such as
kabad is used. In Koine Greek fear/terror is phobo ,
where reverence or honor is timao.

A distinction is shown but people still try to, ignorantly,
reconcile the true explicit meaning.

Do we know the revealed God of Scripture, or do we
believe in a God who is a kind of human construct?

2 Corinthians 5:11

11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade
men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also
are made manifest in your consciences.

Psalm 34:11

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you
the fear of the LORD.

Ps 89:7

07 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the
saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are
about him.

Those/That Which mankind should NOT fear.

Isaiah 8:12-13

12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this
people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their
fear, nor be afraid.
13 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be
your fear, and let him be your dread.

Him/That which we ALL should fear.

Matthew 10:28

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not
able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke 12:4-5
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Fear is defined by the association between Fear And Sovereignty, Fear And Wisdom, Fear And Sin, Fear And Repentance, Fear And Blessings, Fear And Punishment and Fear And Love!

The Terrifying Love Of God is known to us through such knowledge as ;
Philippians 2:12-13
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

And that ..
Hebrews 10:31
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Let all then that live to love and serve our God, be full of thankfulness in the ways which please him, but always with true reverence and holy fear.
Psalm 19:9
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Let us pray that His Church becomes a place of terror again; a place where God continually has to tell us, "Fear not" and where absolutely nothing ((including our vain plans, our suble personal agendas, our priorities, our own politics, our money, our personal security, our comfort, our possessions, our needs). is safe in God's presence except ourselves, who love Him.
The world needs to see a God who, frankly, is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender... and who is our's; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, 'I love you.'.

Perhaps David B, you were not fearful enough before you thought you had joined ‘His Club’ but He is gracious enough to restate them . 'I love you.'

Ernst ‘Who knows treasure when it’s presented to him’ Blofeld

Now am off to help me old blog blusterer 'Victor Meldrew' Greg Tingey, so he can say 'I Do Believe It.

1 March 2012 at 14:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace. Makes one wonder what the hard working sincere types who established the Labour movement and who would have been Chapel to a man would think of these university educated middle class fakes who have hijacked the movement in the name of godless international socialism…

David B. The Inspector is a God fearing man. He knows his place in creation and gets great comfort from that…

1 March 2012 at 18:25  
Blogger Manfarang said...

It is The Church in Wales not the Church of Wales and it is not the largest church,the Presbyterian Church of Wales is.
The Church in Wales has no rights to spread its doctrines to others who are not its members.

2 March 2012 at 03:48  
Blogger The Way of Dodo the Dude said...

Manfarang
Surely any Christian Church, or other faith group for that matter, regardless of whether it is "of", "in" or even "outside" of Wales, has a right to evangelise there?

2 March 2012 at 16:29  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

I'm surprised no one has pointed out the rather obvious irony, that these same idiotic and seemingly anti-prayer (potentially even anti-Christian) Welsh MP's will all be sure to show their Welsh credentials come St Davud's Day!

4 March 2012 at 02:16  
Blogger Oswin said...

'un, dau, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech, saith (hello cariad!), wyth, naw, deg ...'

Apologies! ;o)

4 March 2012 at 16:52  

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