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  • "
    freefinker wrote:
    Georgem wrote:
    alan.of.eastleigh wrote: Amazing how everyone has missed the real point of the story. It is about a law permitting prayers not forcing them on people. The story hit the headlines when an athiest tried to impose his non religious beliefs on others - depriving them of their right of choice. I'm not particularly religious but find it interesting that the abusive and hostile posts above all come from people who do not believe in God. The ability to have faith and belief is one of the things that distinguishes us from apes. So why should we snigger at anyone who has a belief - be it God or Darwin (or both)?
    Fun fact: Darwin believed in God. Now, to business: proof that apes don't believe in God, please
    .. er!! Almost certainly NOT. His wife was very religious. He was only lightly indoctrinated into christianity – his father, Robert, and grandfather were actually freethinkers (look it up on Wikipedia) although his mother’s side were unitarian. Increasingly, as he developed his theory over many years, he began to doubt and then dismiss organised religion, particularly its origin story. He stopped going to church for over 30 years before he died, quite a courageous thing to do in a 19th century rural community. The claim that he reverted back to christianity on his death-bed was always denied by his own children. Asking for 'proof that apes don't believe in god' is a bit cart before horse. christians insist god was there first - I say, let them prove there is a god, then ask the ape question.
    You know what they say about if an ape was sat down at a type writer (theoretically) indefinately, he'd eventually knock out the full works of Sheakespeare? Well, I dare say if said ape was given enough time, he'd eventually knock out the full works of the bible too - having never previously heard of the concept of 'him'/'her'/'it' and crucially with no belief in 'him'/her'/'it' either! Then what do you think he'd do? He'd just keep on typing and knock something else out then the next... Who knows, he might even eventually stop taking LSD! ;-)"
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Eric Pickles overturns ban on prayers at council meetings

Sean Woodward

Sean Woodward

First published in News

Councils have been told they can continue holding prayers before meetings after one Hampshire authority vowed to join others in defying a ban.

The Government has rushed through new powers onto the statute book, days after a High Court ruling said it was unlawful for councils to incorporate prayers into proceedings.

It comes as the leader of one Hampshire authority said he would have been willing to defy the "ridiculous" ban.

Local Government secretary Eric Pickles has moved swiftly to overrule the controversial judgement.

He signed a parliamentary order that came into effect at midnight making the practice of holding prayers lawful.

It brings forward a power contained in the Government's Localism Act, which was due to come into force in April.

The ruling, by Mr Justice Ouseley, had been branded 'ridiculous' and 'anti-Christian' by some councillors, who were prepared to defy the ban before Mr Pickles intervened.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: “When I became the leader of Fareham Borough Council I formalised prayers on the council agenda and we have had them at the start of every full council meeting ever since. That was 13 years ago.

“But now I have been told by the council's solicitor that, if the prayers appear on the agenda for this week's meeting, I will be breaking the law and could face prosecution. That is just ridiculous. The Church of England is the established church in this country and saying prayers at the start of council meetings is a tradition that should not be changed.”

The ruling came after an atheist former councillor took Bideford Town Council in Devon to the court, with the backing of the National Secular Society.

On the new powers given to councils Mr Pickles said: “We are striking a blow for localism over central interference, for freedom to worship over intolerant secularism, for parliamentary sovereignty over judicial activism, and for longstanding British liberties over modern-day political correctness.

“Last week's case should be seen as a wake-up call. For too long, the public sector has been used to marginalise and attack faith in public life, undermining the very foundations of the British nation. But this week, the tables have turned.”

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