London Council Under Fire For Prayer Bump In Favor Of Poetry

June 19, 2010

UK (ChattahBox) -  A London council has drawn criticism after dropping the traditional pre-meeting prayer, in favor of a poetry reading.

Whatever the religious faith that is used, a religious prayer is almost always used prior to a meeting in councils all across the UK.

But one London council has made the decision to forgo the slightly outdated practice, and so what it is they feel most comfortable with. Which, in the case of the Enfield Council, is to open with a poetry reading.

While it doesn’t seem as though it would be that controversial of a decision, given not everyone is religiously-minded, and that faith is a matter of great diversity that makes it difficult to offer a single prayer, some Christian groups have taken aim.

“Given seven in 10 people in the census chose to list their religious beliefs as Christian, I think it is perfectly acceptable for local authorities to begin its meetings with prayers,” the Christian Institute said in a statement.

“I think it is about time that local councils take a large dose of common sense and stand up for Christians.”

But Doug Taylor, Enfield’s council leader, denied it had anything to do with snubbing, or sticking up for, anyone.

“Prior to the formal business of the council meeting, the mayor has sole discretion to decide how best to reflect upon matters spiritual and temporal. Prayers for those who wish to have a few moments of quiet reflection will be held in the mayor’s parlour before council meetings. The mayor has invited poets to read out a short poetry item in the council chamber before full council meetings – something that celebrates our borough and supports and encourages the arts.”

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