Sean McGuire at My Secret Atheist Blog has taken on the tedious job of tracking which Canadian municipalities have decided to obey the Supreme Court ruling to stop praying in council meetings. The latest post in McGuire’s series of posts on prayer targets the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Not only is Niagara Falls refusing to obey the SCC ruling, the council is going over the falls in a barrel. It is opening its meetings with a “deputation to peace.” However, the correct title for this is “deputation” is “Prayer for Peace,” written by Pope Pius XII:
Almighty and eternal God.
May your grace enkindle in all of us
a love for the many unfortunate people
whom poverty and misery
reduce to a condition of life
unworthy of human beings.
Arouse in the hearts of those who call you Father
a hunger and thirst for social justice
and for fraternal charity
in deeds and in truth.
Grant, O Lord, peace in our days, peace to souls, peace to families, peace to our country, and peace among nations.
At least one Niagara Falls resident is not happy. Clarke Bitter is “strongly considering” filing a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. All over Canada, people are writing letters for and against prayer in council meetings. Some are successful. For example Chris London wrote an “Open Letter to Saint John Common Council to stop reciting prayer at Common Council Meetings,” and Saint John, NB council dropped the prayer at meetings on April 27th. According to Shawn Rouse at The Manatee, “God [is] happy to no longer attend boring city council meetings”:
Heaven — Omnipotent beings are going to have a little more time on their hands, courtesy of Canada’s Supreme Court. Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada decided the town of Saguenay, Que., must stop reciting a prayer at the start of council meetings. Despite the ardent objections from faithful Christians, God told The Manatee that He is actually fine with being omitted from the proceedings.
“Oh, thank Me that I don’t have to attend those boring Legislature sessions or city council meetings anymore,” said God. “Good grief, I can’t stand those things and frankly, I don’t need to be there.”
God is confused by some councils’ attempt to break the law,
“I just don’t get it. I thought I settled this back in the New Testament with the whole ‘render unto Ceasar’ thing. Now, they’re getting explicit direction from the top court and still not changing anything. Jeez guys, take a hint already,” said an exasperated God.
There you have it: the word of God, who no doubt put on a heavenly party when he found out that he doesn’t have to attend Oshawa council meetings.