The 2016 census revealed that 52% of Australians would classify themselves as Christian…if they were forced to label their beliefs. Undoubtedly, a far smaller percentage would label themselves as devout observers of the faith. With only a small minority reciting the Lord’s Prayer on a daily basis.
Yet in Canberra, every Senate sitting kicks off with a reading of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s been this way since 1903, following a petition by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New South Wales.
But there’s a growing movement to ditch the prayer. And in the spirit of keeping Church and State at arm’s length, The Australian Tribune believes it’s time to do so. Though senators would do well to take note of the phrase, ‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.’
What should the prayer be replaced with?
Retired Greens senator Lee Rhiannon is behind the latest push to bin the Lord’s Prayer. She believes it should be replaced with an ‘inclusive’ statement, according to the AAP.
Rhiannon suggested it would be more appropriate to use words such as, ‘Senators, let us, in silence, pray or reflect upon our responsibilities to all people of Australia, and to future generations.’
The AAP reports that the inquiry received more than 400 submissions. Four of those submissions came from Liberal and Labor senators who wish to keep the current prayer.
In his submission to the committee, Queensland LNP senator James McGrath stated, ‘I see no reason to abandon this tradition.’
In June, Rhiannon said the statement should be inclusive of all beliefs and faiths in a secular country such as Australia.
A Senate committee was set to release its report on the renewed efforts to scrap the prayer from federal parliament today. But the committee is now looking to extend the reporting date to 13 September so it can consider additional evidence.
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