There’s a new fight in Queensland over the traditional recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at the start of each parliamentary day in the state’s single-chamber Legislative Assembly. Source: The Catholic Leader.
More than 400 people have signed an e-petition put forward by Sunshine Coast man Tony Magrathea and tabled in Queensland Parliament calling for an end to religious prayers at the start of parliamentary business.
Mr Magrathea’s petition argues prayers are “contrary to the spirit” of the Australian Constitution and breach section 116.
He says section 116 precludes the Commonwealth “from making laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion.“
“Section 116 also provides that no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth. Prayers at the commencement of each sitting day are contrary to the spirit embodied in s116,” Mr Marathea wrote.
A counter e-petition put forward by the Australian Christian Lobby’s state director, Wendy Francis, argues prayers should be retained in the House.
Ms Francis claims prayers as “a right and proper acknowledgement of Australia’s legal and cultural heritage which has been decisively shaped by a Christian ethos that continues to foster our free and prosperous democracy.”
“The practice of saying prayers is a longstanding and non-partisan tradition which re-affirms parliamentarians’ commitment to the common good of Australia,” Ms Francis’ petition states.
Battle over Lord’s Prayer in Queensland Parliament (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)