Friday, October 31, 2008

Attempts to get rid of the Lord's Prayer rejected in Australian parliament

Attempts by the Australian House of Representatives Speaker to get rid of the daily recital of the Lord’s Prayer in Australia’s federal parliament have met with united opposition from both the government and opposition parties.

Harry Jenkins questioned if the prayer was relevant to the 21st century, according to The Herald-Sun, calling it "controversial", and suggesting that it be rewritten. The Lord's Prayer has been in the standing orders since 1901, the year the British colonies of Australia came together as a federation.

However a spokeswoman for the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he viewed it as an important tradition that should not be broken. "The Lord's Prayer is a long-standing tradition of the Australian parliament and the Prime Minister believes it should continue,'' she said.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull and Nationals leader Warren Truss issued a joint statement, saying the removal of the prayer would be unacceptable.

"The Lord's Prayer has a very important place in the conduct of the parliamentary programme, and ahead of the day's debate and deliberations it provides a non-partisan reaffirmation of our commitment to the common good for the people of Australia,'' Mr Turnbull and Mr Truss said.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans, quoted in The Daily Telegraph, said on Sunday the indigenous owners of the land were acknowledged at the opening of parliament for the year and would be recognised at other official occasions at Parliament House.

He expressed doubt that Jenkin's objection to the prayer would gain any ground.

"We had this debate in the Senate a few years ago when there was talk about having a moment's reflection rather than the Lord's Prayer, but the strong view among senators was that the Lord's Prayer ought to remain. I wouldn't expect any change," he told ABC Television.

More than 65 per cent of Australians still identify as Christians, and there are no Muslims or Aborigines among Australia's 226 MPs.

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Sotto Voce

(Source: CIN)

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