Conservative MP Crispin Blunt is calling for the tradition of saying prayers at the beginning of parliamentary business to be abolished.
The MP for Reigate has put down an Early Day Motion against the practice, which is believed to have been started in 1558.
Mr Blunt said religious worship “should no longer play a role in the way we conduct our political affairs as an independent, open and diverse nation”.
Graham Nicholls, the Director of Affinity, a partnership of churches, has said the UK’s Christian heritage “is a good thing” but that prayers should not be “imposed” on people who do not believe in Christianity.
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He told talkRADIO’s James Whale: “I think our Christian heritage is a good thing. If you believe in a transcending god, as Christians do, and you believe that he actually changes the course of history due to our prayers, then of course you think the prayers change things otherwise what is the point.”
He added: “I don’t think anyone is that offended by the prayers that go on.
“But, I passionately believe in the freedom of the people made in the image of God to choose as they wish and face the consequences.
“I don’t think imposing prayers on people who don’t believe it is a good idea. In a way, I would rather we got rid of some of the hypocritical church services.
“You have heads of state going to Christian services to mark some event and 98% of them don’t believe a word that is being said.
“So it is a bit pointless and I’d rather there was clarity. Christians were Christians and they were consistent and said what they believed and lived by it, and those who weren’t Christian just said that and we will structure the whole of our organisation and life as if we did not believe. At least you know where you are.”
Prayers being business in both chambers of Parliament, with the main prayer in the House of Commons asking for God’s guidance so that MPs “never lead the nation wrongly through love of power, desire to please, or unworthy ideals”.