“What harm can a little prayer do?” asks Anne Pickles in her recent column and it to tempting to say “none at all, prayer is just wishful thinking that achieves nothing” the problem comes when the prayer in question is imposed on a not necessarily Christian group by the Christian majority. Prayer is, by its very nature, a religious ritual, an act carried out by the faithful to beseech the help of their preferred deity.
Anne describes the situation like this:
“Prayers at council meetings are their particular beef. But presumably any little prayer, any old time, offered in any populated place would be enough to get them all fired up and hot under the collar.”
Seeing the thin ice that her argument she immediately drags her straw man out of the council meeting and onto the street so that she can point at it in mock horror. Those terrible secularists! They are going to stop everyone praying! Everywhere! Forever! And the rest of her article is no better. Clive Bone, the atheist councillor in question is apparently a man “spooked by the power of simple faith”. Actually, he says he is “embarrassed” by the prayers at the start of the meeting as well he would be. This is the John Loftus Outsider Test for Faith. To an outsider, a non-christian, prayer is embarrassing, and a little silly. These are grown men and women asking for help from their invisible magic sky daddy. Seriously.
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but why on earth do these Christians feel the need to impose them on everyone else. This a council meeting which is supposed to be open to everyone, it is not a Christian council meeting. Keep your prayers in Church.