A petition calling for the removal of the tradition of reading a Christian prayer in Brisbane City Council meetings has been gathering support and getting media attention.
ACL’s Queensland director, Wendy Francis, has responded with an opposing petition affirming the legitimate place of a Christian prayer being read prior to the opening of Council meetings, alongside the Indigenous welcome to country.
The practice of praying to open Council is an acknowledgement of our legal and cultural heritage which has been decisively shaped by a Christian ethos, and which continues to foster our free and prosperous democracy. Our Indigenous heritage is recognised in council meetings. The inclusion of an opening prayer recognises the important role that Christianity has played in the development of our cultural heritage.
The most recent census showed that, once again, the majority of Australians choose to identify as Christian. To remove the long-standing tradition of the opening prayer from Council takes away something of Australia's cultural heritage. Australia was founded with the principle of separation of church and state, but it was never intended to keep religious ideas, people or prayers out of public life.
It has been very encouraging that Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, has publicly supported prayer continuing in council, drawing attention to the fact that the inclusion of prayer is a long standing tradition in all levels of government in Australia. His intention is for the practice of praying during Council meetings to continue.
Brisbane supporters, please sign the petition – 'Recognition of our cultural heritage in Brisbane City Council meetings' – requesting that the tradition of reading a Christian prayer before Council meetings be retained.