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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Council studies prayer ban ruling Add your comments

COUNCIL officers are to look at the implications for Copeland in the light of a High Court ruling which found a council in Devon acted illegally in having prayers said before meetings.

At Copeland, prayers are routinely said by the Mayor’s Chaplain (this year the Rev Richard Lee of Egremont), before every full council meeting – and always have been.

Jo Wagstaffe, Copeland’s corporate director for resources and transformation, said: “Copeland is slightly different from Bideford in that prayers are not actually an item on the meeting’s agenda. Prayers are said after the mayor has entered and the meeting has been called to attention.

“We have obtained a copy of the full High Court judgement on the Bideford case and are looking at it to see what it might mean for us. We will then advise members appropriately.’’

Meanwhile Bideford Council is looking at challenging the ruling. Its officers were meeting legal representatives today to decide what to do next.

The court ruling may also be superceded by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for local government, who is planning to introduce his new Localism Act as soon as possible which would hand back the decision to say or not to say prayers to local authorities.

Clive Bone, atheist and former councillor, brought the action to ban prayers with help from the National Secular Society.

Have your say

Dear Sir,
There are over 200 different religions in this world, all of them allow some sort of prayer. All of them will suffer some sort of resistance to a show of public involvement.
Prayer is a private thing. A priest is not required to lead private prayer as he would tend to channel his thoughts into the direction of the prayer.
An equivelant period of silence would suffice just as well. Each person can dedicate his or her thoughts to the action about to begin and no-one else will be privy to that.

Posted by Les Moore on 20 February 2012 at 00:08

The High Court did not say the council couldn't have prayers before the meeting. In fact it specifically said they could have prayers before the meeting. It ruled that they could not have prayers as part of the meeting. We have a long standing tradition in this country that people are allowed to follow the religion of their choice and not have any particular religion forced on them. This ruling upholds this tradition. The suggestion that we should all follow any particular religion just because it is what the majority in a particular place believe is preposterous.

Posted by Nina on 19 February 2012 at 12:52

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