Publication: Proportional Prayers in the Scottish Parliament

Publication from one of the network members, Norman Bonney, whcih also provided the basis for his recent presentation at the Religion and Society conference New Forms of Public Religion for those who missed it.

In an article in Parliamentary Affairs, Norman Bonney reports an analysis of the first 12 years (1999-2011) of the Scottish Parliament’s Time for Reflection which was intended to replace the Anglican daily prayers of the Westminster UK Parliament with weekly prayer or meditation time for religions, denominations and others in proportion to the pattern of belief in Scotland. Even though Christian contributions are statistically over-represented contributions from pentecostal churches tend to be substantially under-represented. The desire to be manifestly inclusive towards the several small non-Christian religions on a near annual basis means that they are considerably over-represented. The substantial non-religious population which is currently estimated at 43% is markedly under-represented and humanists appear far less than small non-Christian denominations. Analysing Time for Reflection as an outcome of the role of churches and faiths in the movement to establish the Parliament the article also explores the rules which were developed to limit and shape religious and belief expression according to dominant political norms in this parliamentary context as a new form of UK state and civil religion.


Advance online access is available on the Oxford journal site  (11 April 2012)