Prayer in a Public Hallway

The same day as the Supreme Court of Canada ordered the city of Saguenay, Quebec to stop praying inside its council chambers, Cecil Clarke, the mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, announced

“One way or another we will do the prayer, and if I have to do that prayer in a public hallway outside of the chamber, that’s what I’ll do.”

Clarke, “a practising member of the United Church of Canada,” is supported by Patrick O’Neill, the Roman Catholic parish priest for St. Joseph’s Church in North Sydney, who maintains that the SCC’s decision will have a negative effect on the CBRM community:

Unlike the residents of some large urban centres who don’t live in close-knit communities, he said the court’s decision could have a greater impact felt here.

“We’re so rich in Christian life here. If the (prayer) was taken out, I think there would be a lot of people reacting against that decision … because there are so many Christian people here of all faiths.”

Like many people who disagree with the SCC’s decision, O’Neill trots out the same old argument “our country was built on Christian values” and the privileges of Christians the majority should take priority over all others, and Clarke “‘who’s always believed in the rule of law'” wants to ignore a Supreme Court ruling. Clarke and the CBRM council should stop asking “God Our Creator” to

Guide our minds and hearts so that we will work for the good of the community, and help all your people.

Clarke should work for the good of the community by obeying the law.

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