From Mr Keith Porteous Wood
Sir, - The Community Secretary, Eric Pickles, has once more
asserted (News, 11 April) that "I've
stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having
prayers at the start of council meetings."
As I told him last year, the National Secular Society made clear
in its evidence to the (successful) judicial review against prayers
during council meetings that it had no objection to
optional council prayers before meetings, or a silent
period of reflection during them.
The judicial review still stands and has not been challenged.
Any suggestion that the Localism Act was designed to override it
needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Prayers are not mentioned
in the Act, or in any of the debates on it, and it got Royal Assent
before judgment was handed down on our judicial review.
KEITH PORTEOUS WOOD
National Secular Society
25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4RL