Do council prayers mock the bible?

When I get accosted by someone from the “Free” churches, my heart skips a wee beat.  Some of them get very worked up about Sunday ferries, golf and so on. They frown and grunt and then walk away muttering they’ll pray for me. That’s a nice thing to do, I’m sure. So it was a bit of a surprise to get pulled up by one stalwart – and he was smiling. “Don’t worry,” he said, “we need dissenting voices in the community to focus our minds. You are doing a good job from that point of view. Probably.”

Sheesh. I am not going to be harrumphed at, I thought. Then he asked if the council still started its meeting with prayers. Indeed, I declared. Were these things not so, verily, they would have told us. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Then he said: “That is so awful that they should mock the bible in that way.” Er, pardon? Surely they are just demonstrating our Christian heritage … and so on? “No,” he blasted. “Mocking the bible is certainly not a demonstration of our Christian anything. It is absolute hypocrisy to do it in the council chamber. It is just boastful councillors showing off their religious credentials. No one listens. It is puffed-up vanity – that is false religion.

“The Holy Bible says praying should be a private act. It calls it a secret. I have always been strongly against council prayers. I am sure you know Matthew 6, verses 5 and 6. That is why.”  Er, yeah. Of course. Gallop home. Quick check of KJV.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Oh gosh. So Western Isles Council is endorsing hypocrisy. And mocking the bible. The National Secular Society, which has a campaign against council prayers, is completely backed by … the Holy Bible. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

You know what; this book is really interesting if you read it properly – not just the carefully-selected bits that island meenisters read out in church. Look, You should see what it says will happen to hypocrites …

PS - I just told the gentleman concerned I put his thoughts on my blog, but without his name. He doesn’t expect this council to change its ways because he believes hypocrites are not interested in what is right but what other people think of them.

STOP PRESS - He also thinks the council’s stand on Sabbath observance is hypocrisy because these are rules for Christians and have nothing to do with non-believers. The council leaders say it is about tradition. A tradition of mocking the Bible is nothing to be proud of, he says, because of Matthew 15:1-3:

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

He reckons anyone who tries to impose Sabbath observance on others – such as at the sports centre – is mocking the bible. Has he got a point?

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3 Responses to Do council prayers mock the bible?

  1. Iain Turnbull

    Re Hypocrisy:-
    So Sunday Ferries for the non Believers are ok.
    How come then there were Hypoctitical Free Church Members Disobeying their own Rule book by Singing & Praying In Public that fine afternoon when the first Sunday Ferry Sailed?????!!!!!!

  2. As a regular churchgoer, I am confused. That is indeed what my bible says.
    However I have never heard a Lewis preacher explain this.

  3. Leave it, Ian. They are not listening. Council prayers and sunday observance is about the rest of us acknowledging the powerful people in our island society. They do it because they can. Actually, because we let them. Because we are gullible people here.

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