From the UK's DAILYMAIL:
Town hall chiefs have been handed the power to hold prayers at the start of council meetings in defiance of the courts.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday signed an order giving local authorities the right to maintain the centuries-old tradition.
He stepped in after the High Court last week backed a controversial campaign to abolish acts of worship during town hall meetings.
Christians and politicians reacted with dismay after a judge banned a council in Devon from putting prayers on the formal agenda. Atheist former councillor Clive Bone started the case against Bideford Town Council in July 2010, claiming he had been ‘disadvantaged and embarrassed’ when prayers were recited.
However, Mr Pickles signed a Parliamentary Order yesterday that should render the judgment irrelevant and protect the freedom for councils to pray.
He said the Government’s Localism Act allows councils to do anything an individual can unless specifically prohibited by law.
The right to pray can be exercised by major local authorities in England from today, and by parish councils by the end of March.
Mr Pickles said reversing the ‘illiberal ruling’ was a victory for ‘localism over central interference’ and ‘freedom to worship over intolerant secularism’. [my emph]
Prime Minister David Cameron has urged people to remember that the UK is a Christian nation and Tory Party Chairman Sayeeda Warsi gave a speech at the Vatican this week saying Europe should speak up for Christianity. [Her Majesty] The Queen also voiced her most outspoken and personal defence of faith this week.
The intervention is also part of a simmering row between politicians and the judiciary over so-called ‘judicial activism’.
Ministers have grown increasingly frustrated by judges over interpreting the law to deliver verdicts which are widely regarded as lacking common sense.
Judges are widely accused of seeking to make law themselves in areas like human rights legislation.
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