Prayers in Parliament

A colleague, who shall be nameless, has suggested in a Westminster Hall debate that the prayers said in the main chamber at the start of the day should be abolished or at least moved to Westminster Hall, the second chamber. The grounds for this argument was that prayers take up a precious three minutes of the parliamentary day better spent on other, more temporal things.

My view is that, quite apart from the fact that these prayers are beautifully poetic and traditional, they provide a short opportunity to meditate or even collect one’s thoughts at the start of the day.

Irrespective of one’s religious view, is three minutes in 24 hours too much to think about God, the creator of all that is? Is three minutes too long for the members of the National Executive to pause and remember their place, their duties and their responsibility for wellbeing of their nation?

Christians, I believe, must be prepared to stand up for their belief in public life. If they don’t, their views will fast be marginalised or driven out because they would be considered eccentric to hold them – even in a nation with a Christian heritage.

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3 thoughts on “Prayers in Parliament

  1. I think members of the NE should take a lot longer than three minutes to ponder what they are doing and who they are doing it for. That applies to all ministers, maybe if they pondered more and yabooed less much would change.

    I like prayers, thoughts and sentiments. Helps me either focus or unwind depending on the situation.

  2. “they provide a short opportunity to meditate or even collect one’s thoughts at the start of the day.”

    Can’t you collect your thoughts before the working day starts, like on the journey in, or something?

    “Irrespective of one’s religious view, is three minutes in 24 hours too much to think about God, the creator of all that is?”

    Yes, especially if you don’t believe in a god.

    “Is three minutes too long for the members of the National Executive to pause and remember their place, their duties and their responsibility for wellbeing of their nation?”

    I should hope the members of the National Executive would be able to remember where they are and their responsibilities without having to stop everything they are doing and have a think about it for a while. Most other people don’t seem to have such bad memories.

    “Christians, I believe, must be prepared to stand up for their belief in public life. If they don’t, their views will fast be marginalised or driven out because they would be considered eccentric to hold them – even in a nation with a Christian heritage.”

    Oh, give over with the ‘persecuted Christian’ nonsense. It’s rubbish and you know it, unless you’ve been reading the daily Mail/Express.

  3. Go ahead and stand up for your beliefs, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that in an increasingly irreligious country (51% claimed not to have a religion in a recent survey), such activities are more divisive than they are productive.

    Further, one cannot have it both ways. One cannot be marginalised AND also have prayers at the start of every day; marginalisation means that ones beliefs are side-lined, having prayers at the start of each day means that ones beliefs are front and centre, and marginalises the beliefs of every person who holds a different (or no) belief.

    I would also think that perhaps one would be better served – or even better serving – if one spent three minutes at the start of each day talking to the people who voted for you rather than talking to your imaginary friend.

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