By REUTERS STAFF - REUTERS
Added: Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:21:12 UTC
RDFRS UK will be making two announcements next week which will be very relevant in the context of this article. Watch this space!
(Dark clouds gather over Southwark Cathedral in London, January 26, 2012. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)
They are recited at the beginning of Britain’s parliamentary sessions and many school assemblies, but Christian leaders fear prayers could be driven from public life after a court ruled that a council had acted unlawfully by allowing them at meetings.
Although Britain has increasingly become a secular society, it is still a mostly Christian nation, and the Church of England is the established or state church, with the monarch as its supreme governor. But an atheist ex-councillor, backed by the National Secular Society (NSS), on Friday won a High Court judicial review in London, effectively nibbling away at the Church’s influence. It is the latest legal defeat for Christians in the High Court, and came on the same day a religious couple lost their appeal against turning away a gay couple from their Bed and Breakfast guesthouse.
“I’ve no doubt at all that the agenda of the National Secular Society is inch-by-inch to drive religion out of the public sphere,” the Church of England’s Bishop of Exeter, Michael Langrish, told BBC television. “If they get their way it will have enormous implications for things such as prayers in parliament, the Remembrance Day, the Jubilee celebrations (marking the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth) and even the singing of the national anthem.”
Government minister Eric Pickles entered the fray by describing the council ruling as “surprising and disappointing”.
“We are a Christian country, with an established Church in England, governed by the Queen,” he said in a statement. “Christianity plays an important part in the culture, heritage and fabric of our nation. The right to worship is a fundamental and hard-fought British liberty.”