Thursday, 13 March 2008

Praying must Stop?

BidefordAccording to a report in today's Daily Mail, Bideford Town Council has been advised to stop opening meetings with prayer.

The National Association of Local Councils has advised that the practice might fall foul of the Race Relations Act. It could even attract an action under the Human Rights Act. It said the practice, which is observed at many town halls, was merely an "old custom" which might upset councillors and members of the public of other religions.

How sad that this should happen in this country.

At least this doesn't seem to be the end of a story. The report says many councillors are outraged by the advice. While the local MP is quoted as saying, "This situation is proof of a disturbing tendency to try to use spurious legal arguments under the Human Rights Act, and equality legislation, to eliminate the Christian faith from the fabric of our public life ... I do not believe that there is any serious risk of a meritorious action under the Human Rights Act, or the Race Discrimination Act. The advice is quite simply misleading and wrong."

Apparently he has written to the Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears demanding "urgent clarification" for town and parish councils to know how to conduct their meetings without breaking the law.

So that's all right then.