In April, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled (unanimously) that Catholic prayers before government meetings in Saguenay, Quebec were unconstitutional. It was the right decision… but a limited one.
The ruling only put a stop to invocations in Saguenay, not everywhere in the nation, so there’s still a lot of debate over how various councils should handle the issue. Some have gone from a prayer to a moment of silence, some have removed prayer from the agenda altogether, and some have stayed the course by keeping the prayers and just waiting to be challenged.
The Angus Reid Institute, a polling group, recently asked Canadians what they preferred — they were allowed to support more than one option — and the most popular idea was to have no prayer at all: “Just start the meeting.”
The latest public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds that fewer than half (41%) of respondents support the idea of a Christian prayer referring to Jesus Christ at the beginning of a council meeting, compared to nearly twice as many (75%) who say the meeting should just start without any formal ceremony or pause.
It’s hardly surprising, and the responses are exactly what you’d expect when broken down by age group. The younger you are, the more likely you are to agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the Christian prayer.
It also means we may see more challenges in the cities that keep prayers in their meetings. The issue isn’t going away. At some point, you have to wonder why they’re continuing the prayers at all if the majority of people don’t even care for them. Tradition has as much to do with it as anything else, but that’s not a good enough reason to keep pushing faith at government meetings.
(via Sean McGuire)