The Australian Christian Lobby today calls on the Surf Coast Shire Council to abandon intolerance and reconsider their stance on opening prayers.

On Wednesday, the Mayor of Surf Coast Shire, Margot Smith stated ‘the support for a secular pledge reflected a growing view in her community that religion had no place in civic life’.

ACL’s Victorian director Dan Flynn said “The opening of council meetings with prayer recognises Australia’s cultural heritage.”

“The Christian ethos underpinning western civilisation has fostered free and prosperous societies, including our liberal democracy.

It’s disappointing that Cr Smith wanted to take away something of Australia’s cultural heritage,”

Mr Flynn rejected comments by Cr Smith that faith should be a private matter.

“Everyday people bring ideas to the workplace, charities, hospitals and even council meetings, formed by their values and beliefs. The ideas emanating from the Christian faith – including those of what it means to promote human flourishing - are an important contribution in debating how best to order society,”

“Our democracy would be poorer if ideas emanating from any particular faith were suddenly excluded from the contest of ideas.”

“For Councilor Smith to assert by implication that people of faith should keep their opinions to themselves demonstrates not inclusiveness, as she claims, but rather intolerance”

The Australian Christian Lobby today calls on the Surf coast Shire Council to reconsider their stance on opening prayers. Much of our community is Christian, and would refute her statements that religion has no place in civic life.