Calls to scrap council prayer

First published in News by

PRAYERS should be scrapped from the start of Cotswold District Coouncil meetings because they are disrespectful.

That is the view of Cirencester councillor Gary Selwyn who has called for the traditional prayers to be replaced by a pledge.

Gary Selwyn told fellow members of Cotswold District Council that he was surprised a prayer was said at the start of council meetings, saying the council needed to be more "open, embracing and respectful" of people’s backgrounds and beliefs.

Cllr Selwyn, who was newly elected to the Watermoor ward in the May elections, raised the issue at a CDC full council meeting on Tuesday. He questioned why CDC supported a prayer when all members represent the people in the wards regardless of their religion.

However Carolyn Nicolle, chairman of the council, said all councillors pledge to do their best when they are elected but that prayer was an "opportunity to say something more".

"In my prayers I try to focus on things to which we can all subscribe," she replied.

"It is not about a religious statement or stance, as I fully appreciate the many different religions and faiths that are supported in our district, as well as the fact that there are people who do not believe."

The prayer at the start of the meeting is usually led by the chairman of the council with Cirencester vicar Leonard Doolan occasionally being asked to attend.

Canon Doolan said Cllr Selwyn should not enter meetings until after the prayer if he finds it offensive.

"Many of the CDC councillors are Christians, or are supportive at least of the work of the local churches in the district," he told the Standard.

"The magnificent churches of the Cotswolds contribute a huge amount to the history, spirit and economy of the area. A prayer being said for their work and for the people of the district would surely be in everyone's best interest. If they object it pledges them to nothing."

• Do you think prayers should be scrapped from the start of council meetings? Have your say below

Comments (9)

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5:51pm Fri 15 Jul 11

Union Man says...

Something like, "I do solemly swear on this sacred Harley Davidson 650 workshop manual that I shall perform my council duties in a manner as befits a serving Hells Angel?"
Something like, "I do solemly swear on this sacred Harley Davidson 650 workshop manual that I shall perform my council duties in a manner as befits a serving Hells Angel?" Union Man
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Sat 16 Jul 11

andrew.carpenter says...

I absolutely agree with Mr Selwyn. Religion has no place in government.
I absolutely agree with Mr Selwyn. Religion has no place in government. andrew.carpenter
  • Score: 0

5:08pm Sat 16 Jul 11

Olly Cromwell says...

Scientology is a religion so at the next Council meeting perhaps L. Ron Hubbard should be asked to say a few words. He was infamous for the mantra "the only way to control people is to lie" so he should find a warm welcome at Trinity road.
Scientology is a religion so at the next Council meeting perhaps L. Ron Hubbard should be asked to say a few words. He was infamous for the mantra "the only way to control people is to lie" so he should find a warm welcome at Trinity road. Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Sun 17 Jul 11

StephanieP says...

I agree with Canon Doolan. Cllr Selwyn should stay out of the chamber if he doesn't like the prayers. Better still - just stay out of the chamber.
I agree with Canon Doolan. Cllr Selwyn should stay out of the chamber if he doesn't like the prayers. Better still - just stay out of the chamber. StephanieP
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Wed 20 Jul 11

Pentheus says...

Cllr Selwyn has a point prayers could be replaced by ..


I swear by that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, ...
Cllr Selwyn has a point prayers could be replaced by .. I swear by [substitute Almighty God/Name of God (such as Allah) or the name of the holy scripture] that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, ... Pentheus
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Thu 21 Jul 11

Council Taxpayer says...

From what I understand, top Mafia dons can often be seen on their knees in fervent prayer.
But does that make them more righteous, honest, trustworthy, people?
Forget the prayers and install a lie detector in the council chamber.
From what I understand, top Mafia dons can often be seen on their knees in fervent prayer. But does that make them more righteous, honest, trustworthy, people? Forget the prayers and install a lie detector in the council chamber. Council Taxpayer
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Fri 22 Jul 11

JohnnyDale says...

Maybe they can mix things up a bit by having a Christian prayer one week, an Islamic one the next, sacrifice a virgin goat the next, then cast a spell, get their tea-leaves read, and an astrological reading after that. There's a multitude of ludicrous superstitious nonsense they can do if they don't want to actually get on with the business of the council that they were elected for.
Maybe they can mix things up a bit by having a Christian prayer one week, an Islamic one the next, sacrifice a virgin goat the next, then cast a spell, get their tea-leaves read, and an astrological reading after that. There's a multitude of ludicrous superstitious nonsense they can do if they don't want to actually get on with the business of the council that they were elected for. JohnnyDale
  • Score: 0

7:27pm Fri 22 Jul 11

RichThatsMe says...

You know why they Pray don't you.

it's because the are discriminating towards other minority groups. They are asking for God's forgiveness so that they can continue discriminating.
You know why they Pray don't you. it's because the are discriminating towards other minority groups. They are asking for God's forgiveness so that they can continue discriminating. RichThatsMe
  • Score: 0

1:56pm Sat 23 Jul 11

TheAtheistBiker says...

Hell yeah scrap Council Prayers... They're irrelevant and unrepresentative of the community. I've tried unsuccessfully in Peterborough!

http://theatheistbik
er.wordpress.com/201
0/12/11/council-pray
ers-at-peterborough-
city-council/
Hell yeah scrap Council Prayers... They're irrelevant and unrepresentative of the community. I've tried unsuccessfully in Peterborough! http://theatheistbik er.wordpress.com/201 0/12/11/council-pray ers-at-peterborough- city-council/ TheAtheistBiker
  • Score: 0

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