Thomas Mathew writes from London: Well, guess what: we’ve been told by a High Court Judge that the common practice in Christian Britain to say prayers at the beginning of a formal local authority county meeting is unlawful, under the Local Government Act of 1972. Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, ruled that under the Act local authorities had no power to start their meetings with a period of reflection as it had nothing to do with the business of the day.
The case against Bideford council was launched by former councillor and a devout atheist Clive Bone Members in the summer of 2010, on the ground that he felt embarrassed when prayers were said at formal meetings. Unsurprisingly his case was picked up by the National Secular Society that found the time and the money to persue it through the courts eventually finding a receptive ear in Mr Justice Ouseley.
By bringing this scandalous legal action against the council Mr Bone did do one positive thing: those who had voted for him have now become aware that he seemed to have had too much spare time on his hands, getting offended by things that should not have even appeared on his radar had he been busy carrying out his direct responsibilities. Yet, having found a politically correct cause – and bashing religion is very PC these days – he had initiated an incredibly expensive legal challenge that he then tried to justify by saying that ‘freedom from religion is a right’.
But back to Justice Ouseley who has ruled in favor of Bone & Co: what was exactly his thinking when he did that? That people like Bone are offended by hearing the words of a prayer? But how about turning the tables round and considering the offence caused by Bone to the feelings of Christians who dwarf atheists in numbers in Britain. The beauty of the current situation from the point of view of the PC brigade is that any minority can easily go against the interests of majority, citing human rights and all sorts of other rights, and win. These days, it seems, the interest of the majority are sacrificed just because it is politically correct to do so.
Bone, who was getting around forty grand for his services to the community, has had his 15 minutes of fame, and is now obviously hoping to find and even better public job, as payment for doing a favour to the PC brigade. It would be very difficult to remove him, even if he does nothing, as he could always claim discrimination on the grounds of not believing in God. And I bet another judge would uphold his claim. And just like in this loony case his claim would be paid for by the council tax payers.
Meanwhile the National Secular Society expressed its delight by the ruling, obviously planning to conduct more attacks on Christianity, hoping to get support from the courts. Common sense out of the window, that’s what I say.