I got a request for an interview over the weekend because an intrepid reporter with News1130 here in Vancouver noticed that Vancouver City Council is opening its weekly sessions with a prayer.
The story highlights that these prayers often don’t involve any references to religion or god. I guess we’re very liberal with our language here on the
left West Coast. Google gives the following definition for prayer:
- A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.
- A religious service, esp. a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together.
Neither definition sounds very secular to me.
So I gave my two cents to the story
Atheist Ian Bushfield with the BC Humanist Association disagrees. He would like to see the name prayer changed to something more accessible, like "opening remarks."
"When they bring these church ideas or religion into city hall, they potentially exclude a lot of people of different or even no faith. So I don’t think there’s any need to invoke any higher power. Having some opening words is not against anything I believe in, to mark the ceremony. It’s just important to recognize there are different viewpoints and we should try to include anyone rather than exclude anyone."
This is the second time in a week where I’ve played the token atheist around here. Hopefully by putting that atheist label out in the media more and more we can begin to raise our profile above the rapists.
They also have a poll, so go and crash it. It’s currently pro-prayer by a slim margin.