Sunday, April 29, 2012

County council cuts God from its prayers

What do you do if your council prayers cause division among councillors? What do you do if the few atheists and agnostics among them make their objections known by tapping pencils or chewing gum loudly while you're trying to invoke the wisdom and guidance of the Almighty? Do you just ignore them, enduring their insensitivity and rudeness patiently and kindly, as St Paul exhorted? Or do you change the entire liturgy to accommodate their non-belief?

Incredibly (or perhaps not), the Conservative chairman of Gloucestershire County Council opted for the second path: he has eradicated all mention of God and Jesus from the council's traditional prayer in order not to offend the (one) Green and (two) LibDems. The remaining 60 councillors, some of whom are now strongly united in opposition to the non-religious prayer, have had secularism forced upon them. In fact, Brian Thornton, the Conservative council chairman, has placated three opposition councillors by offending nine Tories. But he says: "I am very happy with it. There is now unity. I kept the words, but there is no longer a reference to calling for God's help. It does the trick without being related to God... In this case, I don't have to act in a democratic manner. I am a dictator in the way I control how the meeting is conducted."

Does 'the trick' does it? A 'dictator', are you? Pray, what manner of Conservative is concerned with denying the will of the majority and conjuring with Christianity?

Sarah Lunnon (the Green) said: "The compromise works for most people. People are no longer being asked to profess to a belief that they don't hold. We may have a Judeo-Christian heritage, but the separation of Church and state is very important."

Ms Lunnon appears to be confusing the United Kingdom with the United States of America: the separation of Church and state may be very important to her, but we have no such division in the UK. Notwithstanding this religio-political settlement, God is now out of Gloucestershire County Council:
"Let us pray for God's blessing on all those who serve the people of Gloucestershire, and especially on the work of this county council.
"May He give us wisdom to carry out our duties; the humanity to listen to those we represent; the courage to do what is right; and the generosity to treat each other with respect. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
"May we find the wisdom to carry out our duties, the humanity to listen to all, the courage to do what is right and the generosity to treat each other with respect. Amen"
The reporter at the Telegraph calls this an 'ingenious solution': it is anything but. For the sake of unity, in order to accommodate the beliefs of a minority, the Christian majority may no longer pray to God in the name of Jesus. Of course, they may do so in their hearts and minds, which is what many may assert actually counts. But there is power in the Name: the offence here is in the eradication of 'God's blessing ...through Jesus Christ our Lord'. This has been supplanted for indulgent self-reflection on the boundless benevolence of humankind. You might as well sit in a moment of meditative silence. What is the source of this 'wisdom' by which they will carry out their duties? What inspires their 'humanity'? What is the foundation of 'what is right'?

In the quest for compromise, the secularists have won in Gloucestershire, for God and Jesus have been 'cleansed' from the council temple. And suddenly, with the language of supremacy, we have a further ‘them and us’ distinction as the historic Christian foundations are undermined and the public sphere of tolerance gives way to the aggressive 'neutralisation' preached by secularists. And the Government is complicit in the construction of this new order, for 'Rights' are the new inviolable creed and 'Equality' the new immutable orthodoxy. It is evident to all who have eyes and ears that secularism is supplanting Christianity as the faith of the United Kingdom, and the tolerance of the Christian gospel is being replaced by the pathological intolerance of ‘neutral’ liberalism. Rawls may make an appeal to a special domain of the political to accommodate both, but ultimately they are mutually exclusive.


Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Conservatives no longer seem willing or able to conserve anything. Of course, they are not alone in that. A generation of politicians who believe that politics is purely about differences in economics; a generation who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. What an utter arse this council leader is - replacing a prayer with a wish. Do they all hold some lucky heather whilst reciting this good luck charm?

29 April 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Conservatives no longer seem willing or able to conserve anything. Of course, they are not alone in that. A generation of politicians who believe that politics is purely about differences in economics; a generation who know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. What an utter arse this council leader is - replacing a prayer with a wish. Do they all hold some lucky heather whilst reciting this good luck charm?

29 April 2012 at 11:05  
Blogger graham wood said...

Rebel Saint. Exactly right.
The lemming like death wish in the lurch towards the electoral cliff continues by the Not The Conservative Party.

Frankly, they are not even worth our pity.

29 April 2012 at 11:19  
Blogger downtown dave said...

If you're not praying to God, you may as well not pray at all.

29 April 2012 at 12:14  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

The prayer is a fairly standard piece of blasphemy - no prayer at all would be preferable to one that so fragrantly insults God by directly omitting Him.

As for the procedure - I'll be consistent. This should be a matter for a majority vote - and if the staunch individuals don't like it, they can run on a platform opposing it and secure a democratic mandate.

This works both ways - if there's a majority vote in favour of disregarding prayers and God altogether, I'll go support the staunch minority.

29 April 2012 at 12:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 April 2012 at 13:16  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

I am not surprised the secularists like the new prayer. It isn't a prayer at all save perhaps a prayer to themselves. It is instead a declaration of human sovereignty. It reflects the quasi-deification of man inherent in secular thought. Wisdom and courage and humanity and generosity are offered up as intrinsic outputs of man which he may produce simply by looking within himself.

Now of course a man could quietly and privately insert God into the construction, but that is simply pushes God into the interstices of a structure that does not require His presence. It removes to the private sphere that which demands to be proclaimed publicly. The 'prayer' instead publicly proclaims the sovereignty of man. Any listener may privately attribute the prayer to God if he prefers, but that attribution must be unspoken lest the public proclamation of man's sovereignty be profaned.

If it were me, I would loudly chew gum or tap my pencil during this idiocy. One thing I would not do is show it any respect.

The solution here is obvious btw. If the organization can produce only a nominal prayer then it might as well not pray at all. The ritualized prayer of unbelief is more offensive to God than the honest assertion of unbelief. Better to abolish the whole thing.


29 April 2012 at 13:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, I suppose it's a different approach to the one Conservative councillor Imran Khan of Horley West claims was used to deselect him for suggesting the prayers and meeting were separated so that he didn't feel the need to leave the chamber for the prayer section, his particular god being Allah and all.

29 April 2012 at 14:35  
Blogger len said...

As the tide of Christianity recedes in the UK there will be a pause before the tide of secularism sweeps in .And this tide of secularism will bring with it any and every evil which intends to assault humanity.

The sad thing(for us all) that they(secularists) just cannot see it!.

Secularism is as old as time itself it is man wanting to be God, man playing God, and we all(Christians anyway)know where this will lead!.

29 April 2012 at 14:39  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Rebel: "Do they all hold some lucky heather whilst reciting this good luck charm?"

Ironically, you're channelling what some of us feel about people holding bibles or qur'ans and reciting stuff there.

29 April 2012 at 14:40  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@danj0 ... Yes, I am fully aware that is non-believers perceive prayer. As ever, it comes down to the issue of truth and nailing your colours to the mast. Trying to please everyone has - as usual - ended up pleasing no one. As an ancient mystic once said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if [insert name of other God here, including human intellect] is God, follow him"

29 April 2012 at 15:55  
Blogger Oswin said...

''As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods...'' & now: they kill Him for our sport!

One wonders what the good people of Gloucestershire think of their councillors now?

29 April 2012 at 16:38  
Blogger Berserker said...

God is now an illegal immigrant in Gloucestershire.

This makes him a deprived and discriminated against person. Social Services?

New Prayer states:... the humanity to listen to all.

You don't say!

Greens give you wind and are as we know are a euphemism for Loony Lefties.

Quote from Ms Lunnon: People are no longer being asked to profess to a belief that they don't hold.

How does Ms Lunnon know what beliefs they hold or don't hold? Does she have special Green Witchery powers?

To quote from the 2010 Eqaulities Act

Indirect discrimination
A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to a relevant protected characteristic of B's.

I'd say that makes us all discriminators. I'd really love to know what my protected characteristics are... Is it something I should see my GP about?

29 April 2012 at 17:46  
Blogger Owl said...

Gloucestershire County Council have just made fools of themselves.

I wouldn't want to represented by the brainless Sarah Lunnon or by the spineless Brian Thornton.

I can imagine God laughing his head off at this one.

Do they say this new prayer to their left foot?

29 April 2012 at 20:13  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

I doubt God is laughting.

Let's be frank, praying hasn't stopped politicians of all persuations and faiths from usuring in a series of anti-Christian legislation over the past 40 years. We've seen the liberalising of divorce, abortion on demand, normalising homosexuality, scrapping blasphemy laws, liberalising assisted homicide and contraception for children unbeknown to parents. Neither has praying stopped them systematically underrmining family life either with more and more intrusion between parent and child and usurping and replacing the care of the elderly.

Bottom line - it's not praying that counts it's staying true to the Gospel.

29 April 2012 at 22:06  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

If you are still deluded enough to believe in BigSkyFairy ....

I suggets you consult "Saint" Matthew on the subject (especially on PRIVATE as opposed to public prayer)

29 April 2012 at 22:11  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
This country needs two things happening concurrently.
One is a new awakening or revival throughout the land. Bring back Billy Graham or a man of similar rectitude.
The second is a new political class that gives homage to the Lordship of Jesus and legislates accordingly.
These two are virtually interdependent as we need believers to vote for the right politicians and we need new legislation to enable the faith to spread throughout the nation.

29 April 2012 at 23:28  
Blogger len said...

Could it be that the Gospel message has been lost and the' gospel' that is preached today isn`t' the Gospel' at all?.

People today see no relevance to 'the gospel' that is preached and discard it as being of no importance to them at all!.
Jesus spoke many times regarding 'The Kingdom of Heaven, or The Kingdom of God)'(more than any other subject)and'the Gospel of the Kingdom' is the message that has been lost.
I wonder how many Christians preach the' Gospel of the Kingdom' as Jesus and the early' Church 'did and do Christians today even know what the' Gospel of the Kingdom' is?.

All this is tied up with God`s ultimate purpose for man," why get saved , why be religious,why obey some moral Law", these are the questions man is asking to the Church which seem to have no answers. Until the church provides the answers it will continue to be seen as irrelevant to those who see no point in being 'religious'.

The early Church had an answer and the answer is in the Word of God I wonder how many Christians know it?.

30 April 2012 at 07:46  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

The tyranny of the Minorities strikes again....

30 April 2012 at 08:38  
Blogger Preacher said...

History proves that when man thinks he can do a better job than God, He proves what an arrogant fool he is.
Logically would any sensible person ask a village idiot to perform a delicate operation for them?.
Having said that, history also proves that most of us have to put up with being "Lions led by donkeys" because nobody learns that one can't improve on perfection, AKA God.

30 April 2012 at 14:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

G Tingey

If you are still deluded enough to believe in BigSkyFairy

I don't believe in the "BigSkyFairy." I believe in God. Your mocking description may serve some inner need you feel to diminish and trivialize what you reject, but it really has no impact beyond that. You are the only one who thinks it is clever. And it stopped being clever a loooonnnng time ago.


30 April 2012 at 18:34  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Tingey, I'd prefer a sky fairy to an explosion of nothing, from nothing, into everything any day!

1 May 2012 at 09:31  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"Big Sky Fairy"
Gosh, I haven't heard that before. However did you think of it?

1 May 2012 at 13:45  
Blogger pst314 said...

"If you are still deluded enough to believe in BigSkyFairy ...."

Should that commenter be reported to the authorities for criminal speech intended to offend and cause distress? ;-)

12 May 2012 at 14:17  

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