Skip to main content

Religious Situation (Intercessory Prayers)

Volume 236: debated on Thursday 6 March 1930

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the controversy regarding intercessory services on the religious situation in Russia, the Government will arrange for the cancellation of all church parades on Sunday, 16th March, as part of the routine compulsory for the naval, military, and air forces, and issue instructions that all ranks of the forces shall be at liberty to attend, or refrain from attending, church services which may otherwise be available to them?

I am happy to say that it looks as though the matter can be satisfactorily settled on the lines indicated in the answer which I gave on Tuesday last in reply to a Private Notice question by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition.

May I ask how the Prime Minister's pledge, given in this House, of full spiritual liberty, can be fulfilled if officers and men are compelled to attend parades and services at which even chaplains to the Forces have announced their intention to insist on making their protest?

We shall have to observe what happens. I am very unwilling, in connection with this subject, to raise the whole question of compulsory parades, which will be raised if the matter is not satisfactorily settled on this occasion.

Is not the Prime Minister aware that, if he allows the present position to obtain, men will be compelled against their will to go and listen to these intercessory prayers, and does he consider that to be a means of ensuring full spiritual liberty?

May I ask, quite irrespective of this particular issue of an intercessory service, what the Labour Government are doing, anyway, to compel soldiers and sailors to go to church whether they want to go or not?

Is there a single man in His Majesty's Services that would object to these intercessory prayers?

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall take an early opportunity of raising this matter on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.