From NSS Newsline - 23 october 2009

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Council scraps prayers

Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council in Somerset has scrapped prayers at the beginning of its meetings after a member of the public objected to them. In a letter to the Council, the unnamed constituent said: ’’My reason for writing is my shock at being asked to stand up and participate in a prayer. In my opinion it was totally inappropriate and unacceptable to say Christian prayers at a council meeting. We live in a multi-ethnic, multi-religion society."

Seven councillors voted to scrap the prayers, three were against and three abstained. During the 45-minute debate on the matter, Councillor Roy Jones said: "I am against the prayers. I find them embarrassing. As to the suggestion for a short silence, any reflection should be done at home before the meetings."

Clerical Abuse: Northern Ireland victims fight back

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that victims of clerical abuse from across Northern Ireland are to launch a landmark legal case against several religious orders.

Decades after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of nuns and priests in church-run industrial schools and orphanages a growing number of victims are now turning to the courts for retribution and closure. They are also planning legal action against the government bodies that were responsible for child welfare at the time, for failing to protect them. The move comes as the Northern Ireland Executive faces growing pressure to conduct a full assessment of the level of physical and emotional child abuse within institutes run by the religious orders.

Meanwhile, the report into the handling by Church and State authorities of allegations of the abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Dublin Archdiocese is to be referred back to the High Court. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Attorney General (AG) and the Department of Justice have raised legal issues in connection with the document which must be clarified before it can be made public. That means the report will not be published this week as planned.

Polls that backfire

After one of our members was arrested for ticking the "No" box on an Alpha Course poster that asked the question "Does God exist?" we discovered that the Alpha website has the same question in the form of a poll. At the moment the results are that 2% think God exists, 0% think he probably exists and 98% think he doesn’t exist. This seems to indicate that the Alpha has its work cut out to bring all those unbelievers to Jesus.

And then we have the Brighton Telegraph and Argus that recently reported the arrival in the city of Rev Archie Coates. He has heard of Brighton’s reputation as Britain’s most godless city and is determined to change all that.

In his support, the Argus put a poll on its website with the question: "Is the Reverend Archie Coates right to repeat the description of Brighton as ’godless’?" The possible answers were: "Yes, and it is good that he intends to change this" (4% agreed); "No, it has troubles, but it is a generally good place" (3% agreed); "Being described as "Godless is a compliment" (93% agreed).

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