'Sometimes common sense does not prevail' - Macleans.ca

‘Sometimes common sense does not prevail’


Conservative MP Larry Miller offers his thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer controversy in Grey County.

For months now we have had to suffer and listen to how reciting the Lord’s Prayer at Grey County council has somehow bruised the rights of one of its residents and of how the county is now being sued in order to get it to stop this terrible injustice. It’s high time that all of you who have contacted me concerned about this issue (myself included) got off our collective fannies and publicly display our feelings.

We live in a democracy, but when the rights of the majority are trampled to satisfy someone who doesn’t agree with something the majority has no issue with, it makes me wonder how solid our democracy really is. Human rights commissions are a good (or bad) example of how the rights of the majority are totally ignored to satisfy the whining minority. But that’s a whole other story for another day.

Tradition is something that we should all be proud of. Tradition can be of a cultural nature, a family tradition, religious or linguistic traditions or one of many other traditions too numerous to mention. If something ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Is the present practice really hurting anyone or anything? If the answer is no (and it is no) than things should stay as they are.


‘Sometimes common sense does not prevail’

  1. Miller isn’t too clued in on the Charter of Rights is he…..

  2. Doesn’t matter how much lipstick Harper puts on his party, it’s still Reform.

    • Which brings to mind Hebrews 13:8
      Jesus Christ! the same yesterday, tomorrow and forever.

      • So is Zeus….but there’s actually sex involved.

      • Good one.

  3. Sometimes does not prevail? Hard to believe anyone who lives in Canada can think common sense ever prevails at all.

    • That’s because ‘common sense’ is often wrong.

    • Albert Einstein: “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

      • Indeed. When a conservative invokes “common sense” it’s invariably in defence of some received wisdom or other that “feels” right, no matter how counterfactual.

  4. Last time I checked the Freedom of religion is by definition also a freedom from religion. A non-denominational prayer to an unspecified ‘higher-power’ might fly, maybe. A minute of silence to comtemplate or pray according to your preference would work just fine. However, the Lords prayer is a Christian prayer and excludes and/or oppresses non Christians. Making it a formal part of the proceedings of a local government effectively equates that particular local government with being a Christian organization. Not Cool. To Larry Miller “it is broke, fix it”

    • Some may strongly feel the need to recite a prayer aloud, however, and I don’t feel they should be denied that. The best solution is to make facilities available just before the meeting to those interested. Christians can get together and have a prayer outside the foyer, muslims at the same time down the hall, agnostics can wait for everyone to finish and they can all go start the meeting together!

      • Or they can pray alone at home, if they feel it necessary to do so before talking about paving, garbage pickup, street lights etc. Leave everyone else out of it

        • That’s possible, but we should try to meet them halfway if they feel strongly about it.

          • Feel???

            A right is a right, it doesn’t matter what someone ‘feels’ about it.

          • The councilors also have a right to religious freedom. You are suggesting it is perfectly fine to suppress their rights? Or are you saying that Christians have less rights than others?

          • Matthew

            “And when you pray, you must not be like the
            hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street
            corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have
            received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door
            and pray to your Father who is in secret.”

          • Good point, but I didn’t say they were right; I said they have a right… Big difference.

          • They have a right to the fairy tale of their choice. They do not have the right to annoy everyone else with it at a public meeting.

      • Why not before or after school where it would be more meaningful?

    • No one is forcing anyone to pray – or to listen. But someone is actively trying to prevent prayer. Which is the more bigoted and closed-minded viewpoint? Which the more oppressive?

      • You talk about prayer in school as a right – when was that established?

        • Where did you get that from what I wrote? The article is about prayer at a town council meeting.

          My point above, in response to Michael’s “freedom from religion” comment, is that forcing someone NOT to pray is no different in substance than forcing someone TO pray. It is coercion plain and simple.

          At the council meeting, as far as I know, no one is required to pray along; they can pop headphones on if the prayer ‘s words offend them and listen to whatever they like instead.

          As I say in a comment below, I don’t think single-faith prayer at a secular government meeting in a multicultural, multi-religious country is necessarily appropriate or inclusive. But I think forcing them NOT to pray because you don’t believe in religion yourself IS an infringement on their religious rights.

          • You’re lowballing the coercion factor of opening a meeting with prayer whether people have to join in or not. There very well may be an improper aspect of doing so, implicitly saying “this meeting is Christian”. The best practice would be to give those involved a way to have their prayer without it being made part of the meeting itself.

          • I don’t necessarily disagree; I just think it is an abuse of process and a form of religious hatred in itself for an athiest to try to force people not to pray. I would be very supportive of someone of another faith coming forward and asking for equal time. And I suspect you get a few such requests and you’ll end up with the period of silence or the outright abandoning of the prayer time. A much less hateful solution to the same problem.

            All too often, the same people who try to force an end to displays of Christian displays of faith bend over backwards to allow others to follow their particular beliefs. There seems very much to be a double standard when it comes to tolerance.

      • No one is forcing anyone to pray – or to listen. But someone is actively trying to prevent prayer. Which is the more bigoted and closed-minded viewpoint? Which the more oppressive?

        So, all the Christians should feel free to attend the opening of council meetings, and everyone else should just wait outside until tradition is satisfied? Sure, people aren’t being “forced” to listen, but should we really open official government functions with a formal recitation that those of different faiths should just schedule their appearances around?

  5. Here is the question: Is anyone being forced to recite the words against their will? Has anyone of another faith been denied the opportunity to say their own prayer?

    If not, I don’t see how the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer (or any other prayer of any other religion) in a public setting in any way impinges upon the rights of nonbelievers. If the people who are saying the prayers are sincere in their beliefs and are not coercing others to participate, and if the prayer itself is not in some way impacting the other actions of council, it seems to me an effort to ban praying is a form of anti-religious bullying.

    That said, it does seem to me that the institutionalizing of prayer in a secular body does seem quaint and out-dated – and in our increasingly multicultural country, more than a little insulting to those of other faiths. As someone from Brampton, which has a very large non-Christian segment among its residents, it seems culturally insensitive to single out one religion’s prayer for inclusion.

    When you try to outright ban one group from publicly expressing their beliefs, that’s bigotry and an attack on that faith – Christian or otherwise. The better approach is to insist on equal opportunity for other faiths. Those without faith should not be offended, unless their goal is to suppress religiosity. In the end, you will likely have the same result – either a moment of silence so all can pray or meditate as they see fit (or paint their toenails) or an outright end to the practice, as it becomes too cumbersome to represent everybody.

    But at least then it is a positive choice, as opposed to one forced upon them by a small group of anti-religious zealots.

    • Or how about everybody simultaneously uttering a fervent prayer to their particular divinity (God, Allah, Jehovah, Gitche Manitou, Marijuana, whatever)…a veritable babylonian cacaphony before every council meeting.

      I mean, how could Larry Miller complain about that?

      • :-) yeah you could go that route! But I think the “moment of silence” route will result in less acrimony.

        The key is to bring about change in a way that’s seen as a positive, rather than as one group trying to oppress another. Otherwise, no matter who “wins” resentment will fester.

        • Atheists don’t need a ‘moment of silence’. Neither does anyone else for that matter…..it’s not a war.

          • When you try to dictate to others what they can or can’t do, or in this case where/when they can or can’t pray, you are asking for “war” though. When you try to take away someone’s freedoms, they will often fight back. It always amazes me how those who worry about their own rights don’t give a sh!t about those of others.

            No one is forcing the atheists to pray; only to respect those who want to. You can sit silently and pick your nose during that moment, for all I care. But why do you feel the need to prevent others from praying? What is the compulsion that drives you to hate the religious?

            Besides, if you go back and read my top-level post I actually don’t think the prayers in this setting are appropriate – I just don’t think coercing someone into NOT praying is right.

          • As I’ve often said, you just like to argue. I don’t

            Jesus said don’t do it….so don’t. Fini.

          • YOU don’t like to argue? That’s the funniest thing you’ve posted in a while…

            Subject: [macleansca] Re: ‘Sometimes common sense does not prevail’

          • I don’t argue. I pronounce.

          • So you’re not truly atheist; you have a God complex. Only surprise here is that you’re admitting it.

          • And again you try to carry on an argument no one else is interested in

            Get help.

          • I’m interested in it, and entirely agree with KeithBram. Mellow out.

          • Fine, YOU go argue with Bram….leave me out of it.

          • Argue? I agree with him.

          • Great. Have a beer together then. Ciao

          • I’ll take it your conceding your point.

            Cheers. *clink*

          • Children should be in school. Dismissed.

          • Tell me have a beer , then that I’m a child? Shady morals. Shady.

          • This is why no one is paying attention to you two…..it’s obvious from your first posts on that you have no interest in the topic…..you just want to fart around.

            Childish, drunk, just plain stupid….take your pick on the adjective that applies to you.

          • Ah, so you DO want to discuss the topic after all. Welcome back.

            In my opinion, it is far more inclusive and positive when a way is found to incorporate all religious traditions rather than exclude all. The former attempts to find accommodation for all. The latter, especially in this specific case, appeases one at the expense of suppressing the freedom of expression of religion of others.

            I think a moment of silent reflection (or vocal – whatever they wish to work out… what everyone is forgetting, “whatever they can work out” is the best solution for everyone) would be more inclusive of everyone’s wishes than saying no one can pray period.

            Care to rebut with anything other than a one line non sequitur?

          • A day later, and no response.

            So it turns out that it was EmilyOne that had no interest in the topic. She just wanted to fart around.

    • But do they have to do it in the classroom? Haven’t the schools got enough to do without trying to manage equitable prayer/or not opportunities?

      • Not the issue under debate (schools are a very different set-up; for one thing, the kids don’t usually get a vote on what happens in the classroom) but the solution should be essentially the same in a public school (as opposed to a religious school, whether privately or publicly funded): either make prayer time accessible to all who wish to participate, or drop it entirely.

        Just don’t get me started on the suppression-of-Christmas thing! :-)

        • This has been a hugely contentious issue in the States. The people fighting for school prayer have an agenda beyond it. It should be nipped in the bud.

          • You really are having trouble staying on topic today, JanBC. I’ve already strayed farther afield than I intended to; I ain’t crossing the border :-)

          • My apologies – reading this now I have no idea how I got on to prayer in school. Thanks for your patience – poke me if I do it again.

    • Has anyone of another faith been denied the opportunity to say their own prayer?

      I highly doubt they’d accept a mix of prayers. That too would be an abandonment of “tradition” would it not? And certainly, in the eyes of folks like Larry Miller. an example of “the rights of the majority (being) trampled to satisfy someone who doesn’t agree with something the majority has no issue with”.

      Miller doesn’t want prayer at the meetings, he wants the LORD’S PRAYER recited. Suggesting that other prayers be included wouldn’t fit with Larry Miller’s concept of “common sense” I don’t think.

      • Maybe not with Larry’s, but it would with mine. :-) And I think in the end, it would have the same effect of ending prayer a the meeting with less of a feeling of coercion.
        No one likes to be told they have to stop doing something they have always done – esp. when faith is involved. But if they are told they must allow equal time to others if they want to pray themselves, they may well just decide to do away with the tradition. Their rights will have not been impinged upon; they will have stopped of their own volition.
        There IS (theortically) freedom of religion in this country. There are those like Peter Ferguson or EmilyOne who think that their rabid version of athiesism gives them the right to tell the religious where or when to express their faith. Usually just the religious of the Christian variety (or so it seems with Emily at least).
        I don’t agree with the prayers at secular meetings. I just don’t think the appropriate way to deal with it is to forcibly suppress religious expression. It smacks of religious hatred.

        Subject: [macleansca] Re: ‘Sometimes common sense does not prevail’

  6. Tradition is something that we should all be proud of. Tradition can
    be of a cultural nature, a family tradition, religious or linguistic
    traditions or one of many other traditions too numerous to mention.

    I’m not sure that Larry Miller has really thought that statement through as far as he should have. Consider that conflicts between recent immigrants and several-generations-ago immigrants to this country occasionally revolve around traditions that recent immigrants are trying to “import” to Canada. Those traditions are often met with “They should leave their traditions in the old country.”

    Bottom line is that traditions are not universally good. There are great traditions, there are terrible traditions and everything in between. Sometimes traditions that used to be great become terrible over time and vice-versa.

    We shouldn’t be afraid to revisit the merit of our traditions and we shouldn’t be afraid to jettison the bad ones.