So, the Wanganui District Council has finally seen the light. And, like every other societal advance, the Christians fought it kicking and screaming right to the end. Thankfully Dr. Clive Solomon persevered and the council has eventually seen the light. Of reason. Finally.
Here’s the press release by the NZARH:
The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists (NZARH) welcomes todays decision by the Wanganui District Council to remove prayer from the formal proceedings of all Council meetings. We believe that this is a victory for all the residents of Wanganui and for the wider New Zealand community representing, as it does, the first step towards a true separation between church and state. The signal that this sends to the entire community of Wanganui is that the Council is not prepared to tolerate discrimination on the grounds of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.
Following the decision Peter Harrison, spokesperson for the NZARH said “We are very pleased to hear that the Wanganui District Council has decided to conduct prayer outside official Council business. This approach is in accordance with the Bill of Rights, and recognises the importance of a tolerant multicultural society.”
Annette Main, Major of Wanganui commented on the decision, saying “I believe that the decisions we have made today are pragmatic and provide a reasonable compromise. It will allow those who wish to participate in a prayer or reflection to do so immediately before our Council meetings start. Those with an alternative view will also be provided for by removing the prayer from the meeting agenda.”
The NZARH recognises the instrumental work of Clive Solomon in standing up for religious equality in the face of sometimes emotional resistance. We also applaud the Councilors of Wanganui for coming to a resolution that is a credit to their city.
The NZARH sincerely hopes that the divisions caused by this issue will be quickly healed so that the Wanguanui District Council can continue it’s good work.
There is an article in Stuff about the result of Clive Solomon’s battle against bronze age magic and superstition:
The change of heart was prompted by a judgment from the High Court of Justice in Britain last month, which ruled that reciting prayers as part of a formal council meeting was not lawful under its Local Government Act.
However, the court did not believe reciting a prayer discriminated against councillors with no religious beliefs.
Councillor Clive Solomon, who first raised an objection to the prayer back in April, tabled the new information.
Dr Solomon indicated he would mount a legal challenge if his request to remove the prayer was defeated yesterday.
Well done Clive, your tenacity in fighting this idiocy is an inspiration to all of us.
The only down side to this debacle is that the Wanganui District Council wasted $24,000 of tax payer money on legal fees trying to keep their magic spell as part of a secular government organisation agenda. That’s a bit tragic but it’s also par for the course when it comes to the religious. Thankfully, they do seem to eventually see reason.
I think this quote by the most brilliant Mr. Robert G. Ingersoll is most apt:
“I know of no crime that has not been defended by the church, in one form or other. The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless.”
– Robert G. Ingersoll