April 20, 2015
QUEBEC CITY (CNS) — Canadian cities must put an end to prayers during council meetings, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled April 15.
The court said such prayers go against freedom of religion and conscience. In a unanimous decision and in the name of neutrality of state, all nine judges agreed that prayers should not be allowed anymore.
The case submitted to the highest Canadian court pitted the mayor of Saguenay, a town 124 miles north of Quebec City, against Alain Simoneau and the Quebec Lay Movement. In 2006, Simoneau complained that the tradition of praying at the beginning of council meetings violated his right to freedom of conscience and religion. A Quebec human rights tribunal agreed with him and told Mayor Jean Tremblay and the city of Saguenay to drop the prayer and pay Simoneau CA$ 30,000.