Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Council prayers

In my opinion, council meetings are not the place for prayers, of any persuasion. We are supposed to be in a democratic, inclusive 21st century state and prayers are divisive and unnecessary. Councillors are paid to be there to represent you and I, not to pray for divine guidance. It hasn't done them any good in Carmarthenshire anyway.
However, with several Revs on the benches, and a devout chief executive ruling the roost, they are likely to stay for now.

Last week, as I was allowed briefly into in the Chamber to ask my question I had the dilemma of trying to avoid the prayer, and, for that matter, standing for the entry of the Chair and chief executive (the Chair? ok, but the CEO? Unheard of I believe elsewhere). 

Not taking part in prayers, I discovered, entails lurking at the back of the Chamber until it is over then making your way to your seat with the minimum of fuss. For me, it didn't matter but for councillors who would prefer not to depend on divine guidance, it gives the appearance of being perpetually late.

Prayers are not on the published agenda but form part of every full council meeting. If an unsuspecting member of the public should ever venture into the chamber again to ask a question, they could find themselves forced, out of politeness, to pray to a god which they do not believe in.


Anonymous said...

Everyone believes in Mark James, surely....

Anonymous said...

A much better arrangement is found in the Assembly where a private Christian prayer group is available to those who wish to be aided by prayer prior to the major meetings.

Lesley said...

The last time I was in the council chamber for the beginning of a full council meeting I just remained seated through the "upstanding for the chair and ceo" bit and for the prayers. I saw absolutely no reason to take part in either farce but I'm afraid I got some very unchristian looks from surrounding councillors.