April 16, 2015

Some councils drop prayer, others vow to keep reciting

Brian LilleyRebel Co-Founder

City councils across Canada are reacting differently to Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling that praying before council meetings is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ottawa mayor Jim Watson issued a statement shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, and before Wednesday's council meeting to say the prayer is out for now. 

“As the Supreme Court has determined that reciting a prayer may contravene a municipal government’s duty of neutrality on matters of religious belief, and as it will take some time to fully assess this lengthy decision, City Council will not say a prayer this morning and will be reviewing this practice to ensure that the City of Ottawa conforms to the Supreme Court’s ruling," the statement read.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that the non-denominational prayer recited by council was adopted in 1999 following a previous court ruling forbidding The Lord's Prayer from being recited. 

While Ottawa city council has dropped the prayer, so far Parliament, a short walk from city hall, has not. Both the House of Commons and Senate open each work day with a prayer. That practice could continue despite the court ruling if Parliamentarians choose to cite Parliamentary privilege which keeps judicial power at bay within the inner workings of Parliament.

Other city councils are vowing to keep their prayers before council, despite the court ruling.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry told the Toronto Star that he and his council will continue their tradition.

“I'm proud to be a Canadian,” Oshawa Mayor John Henry told the Star, shortly after hearing about the high court ruling. “I intend to continue doing the Lord's Prayer prior to the commencement of the council meetings.”

Henry made it clear that in Oshawa the prayer is recited just before the formal meeting commences in council chambers.

He said there is widespread support in Oshawa for carrying on with the practice. “We ask that people please join in the Lord's Prayer or take a moment of reflection.”

Oshawa isn't alone.

In Nova Scotia, Halifax councillors have asked staff to look into legal options while CBC reports that Cecil Clarke, the mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, would continue to pray.

He says he and his colleagues will pray in private before council meetings if they have to.

"I will do my utmost to maintain that tradition, in whatever form," Clarke said Wednesday.

"If it means taking other legislative mechanisms to do that, then I will bring those forward for my colleagues."

Expect legal challenges to continue on this issue, especially against councils that do pray.

Humanist Canada, a lobby group for atheists, already launched legal proceedings against councils in Peterborough and Grey County, Ontario. Those court challenges were on hold pending the Supreme Court decision.

Comments
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commented 2015-04-23 01:49:48 -0400
These matters should be decided in Parliament, not the Supreme Court. We need to reestablish the Supremacy of Parliament. The Supreme Court is way out of line on this.
commented 2015-04-19 17:34:31 -0400
Rod, do you feel the same way about mantras, chanting, and other forms of meditation?
commented 2015-04-17 11:00:35 -0400
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.
If you have a problem with this prayer Jesus gave to man to celebrate God, then I’d say you’re the one with the problem…get help – I recommend a read of the Bible…
commented 2015-04-17 10:49:24 -0400
I just called Oshawa Mayor, John Henry (905-436-5611) and let him know he’s doing the right thing and that he has lots of support out here.
commented 2015-04-16 21:34:09 -0400
Rod, I cannot believe you blubbered that rubbish.

I have no doubt that you think that it is childish and silly for grown people to pray, but then your opinion is just your opinion.

You are in a small minority. The majority of people in Canada believe in God in one form or another. Who do you think you are to condescend most Canadians? Arrogant …. What is silly and childish is you thinking that you are so much higher, smarter and better than so many other people, that is unfounded arrogance in the extreme.

And, Rod, as far as rational discussion and intelligence is concerned, bring it on. I consider that a challenge. You pick the topic.
commented 2015-04-16 20:55:33 -0400
Read it FREETHINKER. At best an elaborate attempt to rationalize the irrational. Propose any hypothesis, no matter how unlikely or far-fetched and untestable (multiverse), in order to avoid another untestable (at least scientifically) hypothesis that God actually exists. Anything but God!!! I’m sorry, but that’s anti-intellectual and irrational. There is however, a way of testing whether or not God exists. It isn’t scientific, it’s personal and experiential. Call on Him. I dare you. Say, “God, I don’t believe in You. I don’t think You’re real. But if You are real, show Yourself to me!” He’s not intimidated by your unbelief, and I believe that if you are sincere, He will answer. Do that with a sincere heart. What have you got too lose? Again, I dare you. I don’t know what will happen, but as Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” On the other hand, if you don’t want to know, take the coward’s way out and stick to your guns.
commented 2015-04-16 19:54:17 -0400
Hit a sore spot…that’s what happens when any ridiculous religious practice is questioned….anger, tantrums and worse.
commented 2015-04-16 19:27:57 -0400
You obviously feel threatened enough to run blubbering your little eyes out to the courts because someone believes differently than you. Waaa! He doesn’t think I’M the centre of the universe! Judge make him stop! Libertarianism, the preferred political philosophy of the spoiled brat.
commented 2015-04-16 18:58:05 -0400
To Greg Rogers: We don’t feel threatened….how could we? Children’s stories aren’t dangerous….but they’re for children, not adults…which I assume you are. To watch grown men and women engaging in such silly antics is insulting to all adults’ intelligence, and it’s embarrassing and questionable that people in power…with the power to make “rational” decisions that affect all of us…believe in such irrational behavior. Why would I trust anyone with such silly beliefs to make rational decisions when the rational seems to evade them?
commented 2015-04-16 18:11:42 -0400
If non believers have no interest in God then why should they feel so threatened by words that have nothing to do with them? If someone or a group of people praying bothers you that you can’t STFU and be courteous and wait for 30 seconds then you are such an absurdly oversensitive crybaby that I really can’t imagine how you exist in modern society. Are your feeling really that easily hurt that you somehow feel excluded because SOMEBODY ELSE is praying? Piss off. The arrogant, activist SCOC is ignoring that praying is also a freedom of speech issue. These dick-tatorial bastards are cherry picking what freedoms they want to protect based upon their own preferences alone. In one case muslims are allowed to wear religious garb at work and RCMP and military members are allowed to wear turbans or Indian braids but when those damned Christians want say a sentence or two the SCOC decides the sky will fall. Yes folks, legal pretzel making at it’s very best.

What do you expect from an (ugh) …lawyer who got their job because they sucked the right politician’s **** then never had to undergo any vetting process or public inquiry and have a job for life which they can never lose no matter how absurdly they abuse the office?

What’s next? No crosses on graves at municipal cemeteries, no chapels at hospitals? Yeah, bring it on.
commented 2015-04-16 16:25:30 -0400
God Bless the leaders who have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and stand out and be willing to pay the price. The supreme court should be protecting the rights all Canadians. Buildings and offices have no rights but just the people therein and if they want to pray the Supreme Court should butt out. Canadians need to be prepared to pay the price and Christians should have their own “Garden of Gethsemene” moment and pay the price for their beliefs and ignore the court in great enough numbers they would have to take note.
commented 2015-04-16 15:18:16 -0400
Wonder if they will be handing out prayer mats in a few years when we are all under sharia law
commented 2015-04-16 14:51:24 -0400
As a country that was founded on Christian principles, we no longer allow Christian prayers to be said in our public schools and other public buildings. Yet Muslims are given the rooms to say their prayers in OUR Public Schools which Canadian taxpayers pay for. Does this ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada also cover this issue? I certainly hope so but I very much doubt it. There seems to be a big difference as to how Christians and Muslims are treated in this country.
commented 2015-04-16 14:50:40 -0400
Hey, FREETHINKER, Nice to see you at it again. By the way, it isn’t for Christians to, as you say “put up or shut up”, that’s for God, which He will do in His own time, not yours….. or not! If there is no God, as you claim, then I guess He won’t “put up or shut up” so let’s just wait and see. By the way, if you can scientifically explain chirality for the double helix of DNA happening by random chance, I’d like to hear it, because I can explain the mathematical probability; 1 in 10 to the 200,000 power. Yeah, it didn’t happen.
commented 2015-04-16 14:34:25 -0400
FreeThinker said – “there is absolutely no evidence that gods exist”
Edward Jobin said – “There is no scientific evidence that disproves God’s existence.”

I say, it wouldn’t be faith if there was absolute proof that God existed.

Scientific evidence or not, I would rather believe that when I die I continue on in some form or another as opposed to the alternative of “poof” I no longer exist, like switching off a light that can never again be switched back on.

Even if it is true that I cease to exist when I die, that hope that I will continue on after I die helps me to live a meaningful and (hopefully) moral life when I am here. How can that be a bad thing? Why are some atheists so determined to take that hope away from people. Is it because misery loves company?
commented 2015-04-16 14:06:48 -0400
It is interesting that reciting the Lord’s prayer is a violation of the Charter of Rights, push by Atheists who they claim have no religion, yet it does not violate the Charter of Rights for those who are Christians, when in fact religion IS guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As usual, the SCoC has it entirely backwards, just like the Liberals do in everything they say and do. Oh, wait, the SCoC and the Liberals are one-in-the-same.
commented 2015-04-16 13:30:52 -0400
There is absolutely no scientific evidence that god exists. I am therefore an atheist. That being said, I have absolutely no problem with prayers being said at any public functions; not Muslim prayers though, unless they say them in their own heads during the other prayers. I absolutely despise Islam and all it stands for and have no room for that sadistic, manipulative cult in my life. If that makes me a hypocrite, I couldn’t care less. Pray on people if you want to!
commented 2015-04-16 13:07:24 -0400
@freethinker There is no scientific evidence that disproves God’s existence. There is also no evidence that show’s life can come into being by itself. The Urey Miller experiments that happened decades ago were hope to prove this was possible but since then decades have passed and enormous amounts of money have been spent which only have made the problem more difficult. So until you have proof that life can self assemble you should abandon your belief or at least your repetitive demands that anyone who disagrees with you to do so. As for your claim that religion is the cause of most of the world’s problems, what tired overused rhetoric. You constantly ignore the multiple millions killed by communists who be their own definition are official atheists,whose morality allowed them to commit vast genocides on their own peoples. Claiming that most problems are caused by religion is easy to make for someone who is mentally lazy. Are most marital problems over religion or money or the kids or neighbors, property, boundaries, noise etc? Are your problems at work mostly because of religion or employment conditions, pay, disagreement with employees? Are most problems between governments over religion or trade, territory and rights to minerals etc? Are most problems between parents and children over religion or other domestic situations? If you you have proof that religion is the cause of most of the “worlds” problems now is the time to supply us with the scientific evidence you so self deceptively try to hide behind. I want statistics not lyrics from John Lennon’s song Imagine.
commented 2015-04-16 12:32:34 -0400
We will NOT submit to NO GOD!! THERE IS A GOD in HEAVEN and Our Allegiance first and foremost is to HIM! You cannot make a Christian NOT PRAY!!
commented 2015-04-16 12:00:12 -0400
I am a conservative to the core but have no religious beliefs. I dont care if someone wants to practice their religion or pray but if I was on a council and someone needed to pray before we conduct city business I would ask they pray prior to the council meeting and save precious business time for business. I respect that you may have a need to pray before you work but I don’t.
commented 2015-04-16 11:56:03 -0400
If we stop standing up for our rights as Christians & our nation that was founded on Christian principles, regardless of the other faiths that have settled here it will be the beginning of the end. There is something fundamentally wrong with the Charter of Rights & Freedoms allowing everyone & their dog to determine what we can & can’t do & that needs to be changed. Those that think we can be all things to all people are wrong & we will have a country based on mediocrity.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
Peter Marshall
commented 2015-04-16 11:46:09 -0400
Atheists are driving this agenda because it is time for all religions to put up or shut up… there is absolutely no evidence that gods exist and tons of indications that it is a man-made concept. Basing you world view on such flimsy hearsay is detrimental to all of society. The largest problems in the world today are mostly religious based. Sure, Canada was founded by “believers”, but those men and women were from an time in history that didn’t have the huge knowlegde base of Scientific discovery that refutes these ideas. We all live in a modern scientifically based society, religious ideologies will only pull mankind backwards into the abyss of insanity… WAKE UP PEOPLE, Study religions and you too will be an atheist.
commented 2015-04-16 11:35:03 -0400
I don’t understand why this even made it to the SCoC. We are after all a Nation founded on Christian principles. What do we care if some want to pray before council. As I don’t believe, I would just get to the council a few minutes “late”. That’s all.
commented 2015-04-16 11:30:57 -0400
why can I not edit my remarks? where is the edit button?
commented 2015-04-16 11:28:24 -0400
Why are atheists allowed to drive this agenda.. Canada is a Christian nation under God and we want to honour the Lord by saying the Lord’s Prayer. If you have a problem with it, go to a muslim country and do your deal… The Supreme Court is wrong on this and Parliament should pass a Law that protects are Christian heritage and Rights… I am not going to pander and accede to those few Canadians that do not believe in God.. they will have to answer for their own choices.. BUT as a nation, we do honour God!
commented 2015-04-16 11:26:19 -0400
There needs to be a law that limits what SCoC can “Vote” on! The activist humanists in SCoC have been dismantling the Christian Fundamentals this Country was Founded on and Built from. If any building has or is expected to have a place for Muslims to Pray, then Christians and all other faiths must also be afforded a similar place and be permitted the same amount of time for prayer and reflection. If there are no provisions for Christians, Jews, Hindus and others then there MUST be no place for Muslims and if All Institutions are Banned from saying the Lords Prayer, then ALL praying must be banned. The SCoC needs to stop promoting Islam and killing Christianity! Any Judge attacking Christianity should be Ejected from the BAR and lose their pension!
commented 2015-04-16 10:55:26 -0400
An unelected Supreme Court of Canada is slowly eroding our Canadian way of life! I applaud all those councils who persist in keeping their prayers in place!