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To be shocked that I have to pray?

172 replies

LoopyLoopsBettyBoops · 17/05/2011 09:32

I have recently been elected as a district councillor. The first full council meeting is coming up, and I have just discovered that we are expected to pray. Heads must be bowed.

I have little issue with people who choose to pray, but how on earth is assuming Christianity on behalf of democratically elected members of the public in any way a positive thing? It surely can't lead to true representation of the public? If I were strongly religious but from a different group, ie. Jewish or Muslim, would I still be expected to pray? Remember the Jehova's witnesses who were allowed to sit out of C of E assembly in primary school? Would they have to pray?

I'm simply shocked. Not enough to do anything about it other than a very slight bow of the head rather than full kowtow, but still shocked. AIBU?

OP posts:

giantpurplepeopleeater · 17/05/2011 09:36

I find this quite shocking too! Have you asked about it? Is there no-one on the council from another religion?


sparkle12mar08 · 17/05/2011 09:38

I would be respectfully silent, but I certainly wouldn't bow my head. Absolutely not.


Flisspaps · 17/05/2011 09:38

They cannot force you to pray, nor to bow your head. If you don't bow your head, what are they going to do?

I was on the governing body of an RC school, and during prayer would bow my head but remain silent and use the time to try to clear my head ready to concentrate on the meeting.


Flisspaps · 17/05/2011 09:39

Btw, I only bowed my head because I felt like the naughty school girl sitting there looking round whilst everyone else prayed.


elastamum · 17/05/2011 09:40

No you are not being unreasonable. As an athiest, I would respect others wishes to pray but certainly wouldnt join in. It is totally inappropriate for a council, which is an elected body not an outpost of the CofE.


LoopyLoopsBettyBoops · 17/05/2011 09:41

I'm not really sure who to ask or how to find out. I suppose it is quite unlikely that there are people from other religions in this council - it is a very white, middle class, traditional English area, but still!

OP posts:

LadyThumb · 17/05/2011 09:42

What I don't understand is why, standing for District Councillor, you have only just discovered this! Do you mean to say you've never been to a Council Meeting before standing for election?


BarbarianMum · 17/05/2011 09:43

As an atheist I spend my life having to outwardly conform to the signs of other peoples religions (in the Uk christianity, in Nigeria both Christianity and Islam). I've always done it (bow my head/cover my hair/whatever) as a sign of respect and I imagine those of different religions do the same.

The UK is officially a Christian country and the church still has a role in its governance. Luckily religion isn't catching so I don't think praying at the beginning of meetings is much of a problem (church schools and the role of the church in government do bother me).


LoopyLoopsBettyBoops · 17/05/2011 09:47

No, I haven' been to a DC meeting before. Parish, but not district.

OP posts:

WhereYouLeftIt · 17/05/2011 09:50

Why don't you ask the other councillors why this happens?


LoopyLoopsBettyBoops · 17/05/2011 09:51

OP posts:

Continuum · 17/05/2011 10:40

YANBU, I'm shocked and I'm a Christian. I think if those with faith wish to pray about the meeting there's plenty of personal time before any meeting, or anything they do in their lives, to do so. If people want to pray with other people, well that's what places of worship are for!


redexpat · 17/05/2011 10:41

Parliament starts every morning with prayers. Church and state are not separate in the UK. Remain silent, don't bow your head.


MumblingRagDoll · 17/05/2011 10:42

How weird. I'm also Christian but wouldnt expect prayers in a council meeting! I would ask someone you trust within the council when this came about.


GooGooMuck · 17/05/2011 10:44


I'm with sparkle


exoticfruits · 17/05/2011 10:46

People really don't understand the fact that we are a Christian country until they come across something like this. Cof E is the state religion in England. The Queen is Head of State and Head of Church and you can't separate the two unless you have disestablishmentarianism.
There is no need to pray, but you should be quiet and respectful of others.


exoticfruits · 17/05/2011 10:48

I can't think it happens everywhere DH was a parish counsellor-he didn't pray.


GooGooMuck · 17/05/2011 10:52

exoticfruits you are the first person I've ever seen use that word in context :)


ScousyFogarty · 17/05/2011 10:58

LOOPY...Its a bit odd having to pray. I would have thought you had the choice.


BeerTricksPotter · 17/05/2011 11:01

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpringchickenGoldBrass · 17/05/2011 11:08

I'd kick up. Hugely. I mean, I would be consulting lawyers, going to the press, oh, and whenever they did it I would whip out a book (either Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchins or a bit of De Sade) and ask them to let me know when they had finished their woo-bollocks.

It is utterly, utterly inappropriate to be expected to tolerate this crap in a public space, at a public meeting that is open to rational people and indeed to followers or all the other myth systems, who should not be made to feel 'lesser' members in this way either. The place for talking to your imaginary friends is either your own home or your own place of worship.


SpringchickenGoldBrass · 17/05/2011 11:08

Mind you, were I to be elected to any kind of public office, I would have campainged on a rationalist ticket from the start.


valiumredhead · 17/05/2011 11:10

You don't HAVE to pray - just stand there quietly.


ComeIntoTheGardenMaud · 17/05/2011 11:12

As exoticfruits says, it's to do with the position of the C of E as the established church. If you don't like it - and I can quite see why you might not - I would have thought that subscribing to the National Secular Society's campaign (and soliciting support from other councillors) is more likely to get you somewhere than indulging in histrionics.


exoticfruits · 17/05/2011 11:18

I see that you have your usual kindly tolerance for others SGB Grin
I wondered if I had spelt it correctly GooGoo!
It is hardly a big deal-it can't take more than 2 mins max-quietly read you agenda.
Joining the secular society will campaign for change-I doubt SGB has the money for her way-and if she did she would come up against church and state being intertwined.

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