Why does the act of praying become top of mind whenever there is a desire to be comforted? This observation is all the more real when those who invoke and participate in prayer are non believers. Those who watched The Grammys (2012) witnessed host LL Cool J kicking off proceedings with a prayer triggered by the passing of Whitney Houston. It didn’t matter that we live in a world comprised of believers, atheists, agnostics and God knows who else. The audience appeared to accede to LL Cool J’s request without rebellion.
It should be of interest to many that a debate is currently raging in Great Britain, sparked by a court decision to ban the tradition of saying prayers at council meetings. There is a rising fear among ‘believers’ that centuries old tradition of praying to kick off public meetings is under threat by the ruling. To add to the concern for Christians everywhere there was a recent court ruling in the US jurisdiction where ‘a Judge has ruled that churches must stop meeting in school buildings because a worship service is an act of organised religion that consecrates the place in which it is performed, making it a church’. The fight between the secular and non-secular is beginning to take shape. A former Archbishop of Canterbury was prompted to warn that ‘our faith is under siege’.
The debate in the UK is likely to be stoked further with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II entering the fray. Queen Elizabeth took the most unusual step of, in effect, condemning the court decision against having prayers as a part of the agendas of public institutions. Also, Baroness Warsi (a Muslim) in a speech at the Vatican also condemned the high court ruling. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth left no one in any doubt as to her feelings on the matter in an address delivered at Lambeth Palace at the first official Diamond Jubilee function at a luncheon for the heads of the 7 largest faiths in the UK. The fact that Queen Elizabeth rarely expresses herself in such firm terms will not be taken lightly in a society which represents the bastion of Christianity. How many bets that the decision in this matter is likely to be overturned?
We are living in interesting times!