I’m An Atheist Too

I’m an atheist too but I don’t agree with the actions of Clive Bone and his supporters and I don’t believe that a High Court ruling was necessary.

Fareham Borough Council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, has vowed to carry on with the council’s tradition of starting meetings with prayers despite the recent High Court ruling.

At the High Court in London, Mr Justice Ouseley ruled it was not lawful to say prayers as part of formal meetings under a clause of the Local Government Act 1972.

This countries traditions are being eroded and this green and pleasant land is becoming a bland, dark place. Part of what made Britain “Great” was the tolerance for diversity. Slowly but surely religion is being squeezed out of our daily lives yet we are being force-fed intolerance and trash by the tabloids and other media.

By the way, did I say that I am an atheist or perhaps I am an agnostic atheist. So don’t worry that I am getting all religious in my old age. But I am getting concerned that bit by bit we are losing the variety, the diversity of input that helps us all to make sense of the world around us. Just because an individual doesn’t want a particular form of input, doesn’t derive any value from that input doesn’t mean that it isn’t of value to others. I will be the first to agree that we should not be force-fed from any single doctrine.

And so, one of the items on the radio that I enjoy almost every day is  “Pause For Thought” on the Chris Evans show. This part of the show brings guest contributors who impart words of wisdom. Nothing too heavy and not always from members of the Christian faith. Sometimes these moments are cringe-worthy in the extreme but the point is that, on many occasions,these folks make you stop and think about life issues from a different perspective. I also used to listen to “Thought For The Day” on Radio 4s Today.  I note that there are many questioning voices being raised in the press. Voices that would deny the validity of any form of religious commentary during mainstream programming. These same voices claim that the right and proper place for the likes of “Pause For Thought and “Thought For The Day” is to be relegated to religious programs. That is stupid. People such as myself will not tune in to listen to such programs.

Many years ago, when I went to school, every day the whole school gathered for assembly every day. We sang hymns and there were prayers said. It was a C of E school and the prayers were said in the Christian style. We had kids from the local Pestalozzi Village. They were from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Nepal and India. They were, therefore, of many differing faiths. The point I am making is that they were not C of E but they still attended. Even back then I considered myself an atheist but it didn’t bother me to have to listen to the daily service. It didn’t seem to bother the Pestalozzi kids either.

And so back to the purpose of this post. All over the country council meetings have been held that have, by tradition, said prayers before council business is discussed. But because of one atheist, Clive Bone, there is now a High Court ruling making it illegal to include prayers as part of council business. He, Clive Bone, says he feels uncomfortable and embarrassed to be present while these prayers are being said. Couldn’t he have stepped out of chambers while the prayers were said or perhaps just arrived a few minutes later if he didn’t want to participate.

Was it really necessary  for him to make so much fuss and take this to the courts ?

By the way did I say that I am an atheist too. It doesn’t stop me from going to christenings, marriages, funerals and other ceremonies which have a religious base. I don’t say the prayers but I still join in the singing.

I wonder does Clive Bone go to any  faith based  ceremonies ?

So I say more power to your elbow Mr Woodward. I am pleased to see someone making a stand against this stupid and unnecessary High Court Ruling.

One thought on “I’m An Atheist Too

  1. For me the key point about this ruling is that they Council’s behavior was against the law. The High Courts ruling simply enforced that law. If the councilors in support of the prayer feel the law is unjust they are of course entitled to campaign for a change of the law. But they are not entitled to simply ignore it because they don’t like it.
    It’s also worth pointing out that they were told that it was perfectly acceptable for them to hold the prayer before or after the meeting. But they declined this compromise and insisted they wanted to do it as part of the council’s business (which as stated is against the law). In my eyes the point of the law is to separate faith from state so as to avoid favoritism of one faith over another and the subsequent alienation of those with other faiths, or indeed no faith. Personally I can’t help but view this law as an important one that protect us all. As you said yourself ‘I will be the first to agree that we should not be force-fed from any single doctrine’. That is indeed what this law aims to ensure.
    That’s my views on the ruling anyway (for the record I’m an atheist as well, I’m also a secularist).

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