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Christianity Under Attack: Anger As Major Court Rulings Go Against British Worshipers
ICC Note
‘It’s a shame the courts have taken sides with those whose goal is to undermine our Christian heritage. It is high time Parliament put a stop to this assault upon our national heritage.’
02/10/2012 UK (Mail Online)-A landmark legal ruling banning the tradition of saying prayers at council meetings was denounced last night as an ‘assault on Britain’s Christian heritage’.
The High Court controversially backed an anti-religious campaign to abolish official acts of worship.
Christians and politicians reacted with dismay after a judge overturned centuries of custom by outlawing a town hall in Devon from putting prayers on the formal agenda.
It prompted concern that it would pave the way for Parliament to abandon prayers before Commons and Lords business, mark the end of hospital and Forces chaplains, and could even lead to the abolition of the Coronation Oath, pledged by Kings and Queens taking the throne.
The ruling means prayers will not be allowed at the start of council meetings across England and Wales, though they may still be said before the official start.
It comes as two Christian B&B owners who refused to let a gay couple share a room lost an appeal against a ruling they must pay thousands in compensation to the men.
The Court of Appeal told Peter and Hazelmary Bull that they were entitled to express their beliefs, but not if they were incompatible with the rights of gay people.
Atheist former councillor Clive Bone started the case against Bideford town council in July 2010, claiming he had been ‘disadvantaged and embarrassed’ when religious prayers were recited at formal meetings.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, rejected the human rights and equality challenges. But he ruled that formal prayers at council meetings were unlawful because of a technicality in the Local Government Act 1972.
He said local authorities had no power to ‘say prayers or to have any period of quiet reflection as part of the business of the council’. Acknowledging the widespread importance of the case, Mr Justice Ouseley gave Bideford council permission to appeal.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles described the ruling as ‘very illiberal’.
He said: ‘The ruling is surprising and disappointing. Christianity plays an important part in the culture, heritage and fabric of our nation.’
He vowed to override the High Court ruling by bringing in the Government’s Localism Act, which would give councils the power to hold prayers at the start of meetings, as early as next Friday.
Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute, said: ‘Prayers have been a part of council meetings for centuries, and many people, either for religious reasons or cultural reasons, see them as a positive part of our national life.
‘It’s a shame the courts have taken sides with those whose goal is to undermine our Christian heritage. It is high time Parliament put a stop to this assault upon our national heritage.’
Harry Greenway, a former Tory MP and ex-chairman of the National Prayer Breakfast, said: ‘If people do not want to attend prayers of this nature, they can stay away instead of meddling and busybodying with other people’s beliefs.

Mr Bone, who left Bideford council because of its ‘refusal to adjust’ its prayers policy, said: ‘I’m delighted. I’m not surprised, I expected to win.

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