The argy-bargy at Haycombe crematorium, Bath, has raged over an important issue, namely, whether or not a building created and maintained by all taxpayers should, or should not, be faith-neutral.
The matter of the row was the cross etched into the window (above) which the council proposed to do away with in its recent renovation of the building. There was a one-sided outcry. “We are a Christian society and if we went abroad we would expect to honour the beliefs of that country,” said Councillor Colin Barrett (Con, Weston), speaking for many. The council held firm. The secularists switched off.
The council has now given way, it seems. Once more we hand the microphone to the smug-sounding, not to say insufferable, Councillor Colin Barrett (Con, Weston), who, according to ThisIsBath, said: “I’m really pleased that the council has bowed to public pressure and backed down on its previous stance. It’s not exactly what we were looking for, which was a like-for-like replacement window, but it seems to be a compromise which most are happy with. The council has now told us that a cross will be in place in the window of the crematorium, which will only be removed on request for those who do not wish it to be part of their service.”
Is that really what’s happened? Is it the case that the default place for the cross will be in the window and not in the boot of Councillor Colin Barrett (Con, Weston)’s car?
There’s a principle at stake here. The council should have stood its ground and made it clear to all faith groups they they’re welcome to bring along whatever symbols they please, so long as they take them away with them when they leave.