Grace-free ceremony: Belfast's new mayor upsets faith-heads

Grace-free ceremony: Belfast's new mayor upsets faith-heads September 4, 2017

Belfast has a new Lord Mayor. And Nuala McAllister, an atheist, has started her new role by putting religious noses out joint.
When she was installed at an inaugual dinner last Saturday night, McAllister, according to this Belfast Telegraph report, didn’t invite anyone to say grace. This was seen by some as a dreadful departure from tradition.
The Alliance Party councillor felt some people attending the dinner who are not religious may have been uncomfortable with praying, but others have voiced firm opposition to her decision not to respect the decades-old convention.

The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Dr Noble McNeely, above, who attended the event for the first time, said he led prayers at his table when it became apparent that it wasn’t on the agenda for the evening.

There was no grace on the programme and the Master of Ceremonies didn’t call anyone to lead the gathering in grace.
I’m sure Dr Laurence Graham (President of the Methodist Church in Ireland) or myself would have been prepared to say grace but that wasn’t requested. I don’t know why that didn’t happen but maybe it is a sign of the times.

Yes, Mr McNeely, face it: more and more people are are learning to live life without your irrational mumbo-jumbo so get over it, and get a proper job.
McNeely went on to blather that he believed:

It’s a good thing to give grace before dinner give God thanks for his goodness towards us and for the nourishment of each day.
I understand why people feel disappointment that there was no grace said as part of the proceedings on Saturday but we as ministers recognise it’s the prerogative of the host.

Oh, just listen to yourself, you arrogant old twat!

Free Presbyterian minister Rev David McLaughlin, above, said Ms McAllister’s decision to scrap grace was a “glaring omission”. The self-serving ju-ju merchant declared:

Saying grace at the Lord Mayor’s installation dinner is something that has been done by way of custom for the last 25 years.
I’m very annoyed at this very sad state of affairs; it’s a further indication of the erosion of the Christian heritage upon which this country was founded; indeed, it shows how far we’ve departed from our Christian heritage when we can’t even offer a simple thanks for food.
If she didn’t want to say grace then she should have arranged for someone else to do it or called upon a member of the clergy to offer a simple word of prayer.

McLaughlin added that he will be contacting the Alliance Party to express his “extreme displeasure” at the Lord Mayor’s actions.
And if you get told to get lost, take your complaint to Jesus. He’ll probably also tell you to sling your hook, you moron!
A City Hall source told the Belfast Telegraph that the decision had caused widespread anger among members across parties and had cast a shadow over the night.
Said the insider.

There is no doubting that this is an extremely delicate matter. Grace has always been said, even by Lord Mayors who wouldn’t darken the doors of a church or chapel.

Belfast High Sheriff Tom Haire said that while some guests were annoyed at the absence of grace, his table didn’t miss out, thanks to his neighbour, the foolish McNeely.

Our table did its own thing; we invited Rev McNeely to say grace so we weren’t put out in any shape or form. It was obvious, however, that some tables were waiting before starting dinner because they were expecting prayers as is the normal tradition.

Haire’s DUP colleague Aileen Graham said that, ultimately, it was up to the Lord Mayor whether to say grace or not.

Saying grace at the installation is a tradition and unionists have a very pro-grace attitude.
But at the end of the day, it was her night and you can’t force anyone to say grace if they don’t want to.

The SDLP’s Pat Convery, who was at the event, said the decision didn’t go unnoticed by guests on Saturday night.

It was noticeable that grace was missed out on this occasion but I have no doubt that the Lord Mayor gave this her consideration. Many people felt it would have been better with grace but it’s her choice.

PUP politician John Kyle said that “eyebrows were raised” at the “strange” omission.

It was a surprising break from tradition; if I had the honour of being Lord Mayor it’s something I would definitely do to set the correct tone for the evening.

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  • Stephen Mynett

    ” indeed, it shows how far we’ve departed from our Christian heritage.”
    It certainly does, perhaps they should bring back other local traditions like knee-capping, nail bombs and sectarian violence, all products of that great Christian heritage.

  • Robster

    Who the hell is Grace?

  • Maggie

    The religidiots could still say grace if they wanted to. But oh no! They wanted to force people who have no belief in fairy tales to say grace too. Who is really being rude here?

  • Daz

    Dearest Invisible Magic Sky-Daddy,
    Thank you very much for the bread you provided, which we sowed ourselves, tended ourselves, reaped ourselves, ground ourselves, kneaded ourselves, baked ourselves and placed on our own tables.
    Yours sincerely,

  • Robert

    Perhaps they should grovel before the god Haber who invented the chemical process to convert atmospheric nitrogen into solid form that is scattered on the land to produce the volume of crops necessary to feed the global population. Perhaps they should thank all the people involved in the process of putting the food on the table. Chemists,Mech Engineers, Chem Engineers, Civ Engineers, Biologists, Physicists, Wholesalers, Bankers, Millers, Butchers, Refrigeration Technicians, Powerstation Operatives, Truck Drivers, Farmers …. etc etc etc etc etc. And God is nowhere to be seen and is unnecessary in the workings of the whole process. And those who leech on the whole system, the pious godly parasitic clerics, can fuck off. They contribute NOTHING.

  • barriejohn

    Daz: Christians don’t have any of that bother. God puts the food on their plate!

  • Broga

    Some choice specimens of smug Christians in that article. They absolutely love being asked to say grace. The self importance allied to a readiness to take offence unless they are indulged is so typical. They had better get used to not being indulged. It is going to become rare to have grace inflicted on others.

  • Laura Roberts

    Wow, gee, they don’t like it when their rituals are merely ignored by civil authorities? Imagine if the tables had been truly turned? How they would have freaked out if McAllister had started the proceedings with some kind of atheist proclamation! “We, gathered here, assert that there are no gods, no ghosts, no devils and no demons, and place our trust in evidence and reason.”
    Bullies without power are nothing but sniveling cowards.

  • Matt Hill

    I think Bart Simpson said it best.
    “Dear God, we paid for this food ourselves so thanks for nothing.”

  • Barry Duke
  • barriejohn

    Matt Hill: That’s inspired. It’s things like that that remind us that America may not be a lost cause after all. At Brethren conferences, etc, grace was often “sung”. Can you imagine it; a couple of hundred adults acting like schoolchildren? As Broga says, the pompous little brother who generally “led the singing” would almost explode with self-important glee. One wondered whether his wife had nailed his shoes to the floor to keep him from floating off in a state of ecstasy. All this had to be seen to be believed (where is Giles when you need him?), but just take a look at this smug shower:
    Fuck me!

  • Club Secretary

    @Robster says:
    Tue 5 Sep 2017 at 1:38 am
    Who the hell is Grace?
    It’s just a girl’s name like Faith, Hope, Charity and Patience.

  • barriejohn

    Club Sec: Some Christians do have a sense of humour. One whom I knew was a real wit, and married to a woman called Grace. He used to say: “My favourite hymn is Grace there is my every debt to pay“!

  • Marcus

    Nevermind grace, Who the fuck is Alice?

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Well done the Mayor. Why should those not following these silly superstitions be forced to take part? This is another example of religiots getting their knickers in a twist because, for once, they’re not being granted any special privilege.

  • andym

    As said above, no one is actually being prevented from thanking their Slacker friend in the sky for his non-existent contribution to their meal. It’s not being able to impose their bollocks on the rest of the room that riles. But they are right to be shitting themselves. Even a small move like this is a significant erosion of the religious privilege which near ruined that province.

  • barriejohn

    @andym: That’s it precisely.
    The “cultural left” wants to “deny the individual’s right to religious freedom”.
    As Murray notes, based on examples of secular ideologies like fascism, communism and postmodernism, to deny religion does not always lead to a better world.
    And just take a look at the comments again!
    In any society other than one like we are (barely still) enjoying, the common man or woman not born into wealth has no time to indulge in all these distractions like SSM, climate change, identity politics, white male hegemony – (pick your fatuous cause) – because he or she is spending 100% of his or her time struggling to survive.

  • Daz

    “Who the hell is Grace?”

    Grace was the name of my first motorbike; an MZ TS125.* The name was bestowed upon it because it’s possibly the least graceful looking motorcycle ever made.
    *Though I stuck it to da man by fitting a 150cc barrel and not telling the insurance company about the whole extra 25cc, and by riding it whilst still on L plates. Che bleedin’ Guevara had nothin’ on this hard-core rebel!

  • Stuart H.

    What’s the betting that if Belfast ever gets a Muslim mayor and a mullah is invited to do the hocus pocus the Christo-numpties would still grumble.
    Let’s face it, it ain’t religion they’re concerned about, just the privilege.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Grace has always been said, even by Lord Mayors who wouldn’t darken the doors of a church or chapel.
    Translation: Just like Pascal’s wager, hypocrisy is better than honesty (just in case).

  • Raul Miller

    Goodness gracious, what next? Will we be asked to eat our desserts with a salad fork?

  • Gui

    Wait a second: if the atheist official agreeded to procede with the ritual, she would be faking due her lack of belief. Therefore, the ministers would take part of her lying. Doesn’t this is a sin?

  • Italian Scallion

    God puts the food on their plate!. Your god does what he always does……….absolutely nothing. My wife puts food on my plate, not some baby killing bitch. I believe that “ALL” religion should be banned forever. It serves no useful purpose.

  • 1859

    Young woman with bright, open, happy eyes……ministers – ageing men with forced smiles who look about as happy as two dried-up faeces about to be flushed down the loo.

  • Vanity Unfair

    Saying grace at the Lord Mayor’s installation dinner is something that has been done by way of custom for the last 25 years….
    Grace has always been said, even by Lord Mayors who wouldn’t darken the doors of a church or chapel.

    There have been Lord Mayors of Belfast for for 125 years. If this tradition is only 25 years old then the graceless tradition is even older, and grace has not always been said. Anybody needing the magic spell can say it personally, preferably silently and without moving the lips, and it will still count. It will probably even count more because it will be an individual, voluntary recital not a mandated universal one. Rejoice.

  • farouk dauda hamman

    @ barry duke, just because someone those not adhere to your fucking atheists idealogy then he was branded a moron,an old twat or being foolish.An atheist like you on his death sick bed lamented “oh how i wish i could have a measure of faith in GOD” and then he answer himself “faith needed a foundation”.Barry duke i don’t wish you these before the demons drags you into eternal demnation,i can perceived that lucifers shackles are around your neck.@Robster,grace of JESUS CHRIST is the reason why your stinking sin has not make you a dung on the ground.I prayed that JESUS CHRIST will drop the scales from your eyes guys.AMEN.

  • barriejohn

    Vanity Unfair: I knew Christians who always made a point of “giving thanks” VERY loudly when dining out or visiting friends and relatives. I don’t need to link yet again to those verses from the gospels referring to ostentatious public prayer, as they have been quoted both here and elsewhere numerous times now to no effect.