Dropping prayer from council meetings is not an attack on, or threat to, anyone's Christian faith
letter of the day: council prayers
It was interesting to learn that Ards and North Down Borough Council is now in the minority when it comes to hearing prayers before official meetings (News, November 16).
I was disappointed that my notice of motion proposing the replacement of prayers with a moment of silent reflection was voted down last week and, to an extent, I felt that many of the points I made in support of that proposal went unheard.
It was evident that many people of deep faith were hurt by the proposal, but as I stressed at the time, this proposal was not in any way an attack on Christianity.
I fully recognise and welcome the richness of religiously based political views, and this motion did not aim to exclude religion from politics.
This was an issue of separating faith and state; not faith and politics.
It was an unashamedly democratic proposal.
It is those who are religious, not those who are humanists, that make up most of those in the world who support the separation of faith and state.
The notice of motion was proposed in pursuit of fairness and equality. Removing prayers and Bible readings from the official agenda of our monthly meetings and replacing them with a moment's silent reflection outside the agenda is a threat to no one. I ask those who felt threatened by my proposal this: is my Christian faith dependent upon the state and the inclusion of my religious views via state power? Is my faith not strong enough to thrive, live and sing in a moment's silent reflection?
It is my belief that faith that is genuine and strong does not need state power to maintain, or reflect, it.
Replacing the prayer and Bible reading with a moment's silent reflection is a sign of strength - not weakness.
CLLR JOHN BARRY (GREEN PARTY)
Ards and North Down Borough Council