The Coronation Oath would have to be abolished as part of the “far-reaching consequences” of a legal bid to stop councillors saying prayers before meetings, the High Court has been told.
Lawyers also claim that local authorities would have to end their involvement with remembrance services while chaplains would not be allowed to serve in the Armed Forces, should the test case succeed.
Meanwhile full council meetings across England could no longer start with Christian prayers being read if the National Secular Society and an atheist former councillor from Devon win their case against Bideford Town Council.
But the council’s lawyers argue that councillors are not forced to join in with the prayers, so that atheists are not being discriminated against. Meanwhile the traditional practice, backed in votes by the town hall, allows other councillors to “exhibit their religious beliefs”.