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God should be asked to bless work of Northern Ireland councils

Councillor John Barry (Write Back, November 20) writes regarding the removal of prayers and Bible readings from Ards and North Down Borough Council's monthly meetings, for which he proposed a moment's silence instead.

Moments of public silence are usually held for sombre occasions such as remembering a death or a tragedy, not usually to start off a council's monthly business.

For that, I do not think it amiss to ask the Almighty to bless the proceedings of those gathered, who are responsible for helping to govern and make decisions on behalf of the people.

Cllr Barry tries to say that this is not separating faith and politics, but faith from the state. But, surely, the two are inextricably linked? How can a modern state function without politics?

But why should politics be divorced from faith? I feel more confident with Christian leaders at the helm than being governed by the compass of humanism, or an atheist's agenda, which would seek to keep God out of most civic events.

The Bible gives examples of leaders who recognised the role of the Creator in the affairs of governing people. Solomon, one of Israel's most illustrious kings, extols the role of prayer for the nation in Proverbs 15:8: "The prayer of the upright is His (God's) delight." He goes on to point out in the same book (11:10), "when it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices" and (in 14:34): "Righteousness exalts a nation." Wise advice.

King Belshazzar of Babylon, when confronted with the mysterious 'writing on the wall', while having a banquet using the holy vessels from the Temple in Jerusalem, sought the Hebrew Daniel for help on the matter, of whom he said: "I have heard... understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you" (referring to the Spirit of God being in him) and Daniel asserts (Daniel 5:14,21): "The Most High God rules in the kingdom of men," and chides the monarch for not glorifying "the God who holds your breath in His hand."

The king was warned by the message that his reign was now to be cut off and "that very night (King) Belshazzar was slain. And Darius the Mede received his kingdom".

God does interfere in the affairs of man.

COLIN NEVIN

Bangor, Co Down

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