Bideford Council in Devon has been told by the High Court that it is illegal for it to include prayers as part of its formal business. The action was brought by a Mr P Pilot, and the judge, Mr Justice Herod, ruled, “Religion has no place in public life. So help me God.”
George McLauchlan, retired Town Clerk of Bideford, told the court that the prayers were essential “to seek guidance on the matters on the agenda.”
Interested to see how often the parish was called upon to make life-and-death decisions, I ran an eye over one of these agendot. At its December meeting, the Council discussed weighty topics such as public toilets and car-parking in Truro.
Then the Town Clerk asked the 16 Councillors to suggest questions that he could put into the “quiz corner” of the next town newsletter.
I can quite see that the members have some qualms about confronting these controversial issues without the benefit of spiritual guidance.
The council’s solicitors (presumably Moneychanger & Moneychanger of the Inner Temple?) have issued a dire warning of “far-reaching consequences including the abolition of the Coronation Oath,” although it’s not really much of a warning, since life would probably continue to be bearable even if the Coronation Oath were abolished.
Anyway, the Mayor of Bideford, Cllr. Archie Bishop, has written a song expressing his feelings about the judgement. It’s called So Long and Thanks for all the Prayers and it can be found as Hymn No. 34 in your non-religious soya-based hymn books.
Who else has strong views about plural societies?
Here in Sussex it’s Israeli Apartheid Week, which, unlike National Library Week, isn’t intended to celebrate the phenomenon after which it is named. The Friends of Palestine Society (‘Palsoc’) is holding a balanced programme of events aimed at promoting genuine, open debate, including, “Why Israel is an Apartheid State,” “Why Boycott Israel,” and, “Protest Against Apartheid Investments.”
In an effort to foster constructive, peaceful dialogue between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, they’ve also made the sensible decision to erect a barricade of barbed wire across the Library Square, from behind which students tastefully dressed as Israeli soldiers point plastic guns at the passing citizenry. See pictured left one of this year’s nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Although they’ve not gone to nearly the lengths as did the organisers of the Toronto Israeli Apartheid Week. One lucky couple who attend will win a free trip to Syria! Click here to see a picture of Syria’s human rights record.
But anyway, I think there’s one Judeo-Israeli machination they have yet to spot. Take a guess at the religion of the person who designed the original layout of runways at Heathrow Airport:
Compare Palsoc with a nice society like the Christian Union, who do pleasant things such as yesterday’s Dial-a-Pancake event, in which anyone* who texted them a question about God would have a free pancake delivered to their door for Shrove Tuesday.
*offer not open to members of Devon parish councils
Cor blimey, it’s the Bill! (The Sequel)
The Undercover Police Vehicle of the Year Award goes to the Sussex Constabulary:
An excessive number of rozzers were putting exciting blue CRIME SCENE tape up in some of the woods on campus; I was quite enjoying myself and would have stayed to watch but I didn’t want to look too suspicious: I was already carrying a jemmy, a blood-encrusted knife and an oxy acetylene torch at the time.
It turned out that they were investigating an assault on a student and appealed for anyone who had heard “male and female voices” (or, in English, ‘voices’…) to come forward.
Then a few days later, another incident took place, this time within view of my bedroom window (although I was asleep at the time). Apparently Detective Inspector Ian Still of Sussex Police has asked anybody with any information to come forward. But when I read this, I couldn’t help thinking, “Is Ian Still working on this case?”
Curiouser and curiouser
This is an extract from the presentation given in an Explanatory Concepts in Political Science lecture given yesterday:
Meanwhile, I’ve considered writing to the gentleman interviewed in this BBC article and asking for an internship:
According to The Telegraph, Biggest Ever Meteorite Found on Doorstep – although I’m not sure how many other meteorites found on doorsteps this particular one was competing against. I was extremely lucky and managed to get my hands on a copy of the memo that was left with it on the doorstep…