Since putting out a call for help to our followers, we’ve been able to identify even more local councils across the country that are continuing to recite prayers as part of official government business.
Our list – which we hope will become a comprehensive resource showing all the governments across Australia forcing elected representatives to take part in prayers – now has 46 councils, plus state and federal parliaments.
Whether it’s on the Gold Coast in Queensland (see main image), on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria (see inset image), in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales or in the shire of Stirling in Western Australia, sectarian prayers continue to be privileged.
Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far. In particular, thanks to our special supporter in Victoria who canvassed all of the state’s councils!
With 537 councils across Australia, there’s a long way to go before our list can become more complete.
To help our #SecularGovernment campaign, you can take some of the following actions:
- Go to the website of your local council and check if they have a section for prayers listed in their meeting agendas/minutes.
- Comment below to let us know if your council has the practice of reciting prayers (and don't forget to let us know which council you're talking about).
- Contact your councillors to let them know that you disagree with the practice of including divisive and exclusionary prayers as part of official government business.
- Start a petition through your council calling on prayers to be removed (and let us know you've done it!).
- By going one step further and donating to us, you can help us to sponsor our social media posts to raise awareness of this issue in particular council areas. Make a contribution here.
This is another post in our #SecularGovernment campaign which is shining a spotlight on religious privilege in our armed forces.
More on Secular Government
In looking back on the past 12 months, the thing we’re most proud of is having put ‘secularism’ back on the lips of politicians.
Councillor Anthony Marsh’s motion to replace the prayer with a secular pledge for councillors to act in the best interests of the community has triumphed.
At tonight’s Mornington Peninsula Shire meeting, Councillor Anthony Marsh will seek to remove “exclusionary” Christian prayers from the official proceedings of council meetings.
As a newly elected councillor to the Mornington Peninsula Shire, actor Paul Mercurio is taking a stand against the Council’s prayer ritual.
Councillor Kaye Gartner from Shoalhaven City Council, barred from reciting a Buddhist prayer at a council meeting, says they now face a test on the “real value of religious freedom”.
In the upper house of the New South Wales parliament last week, Greens MP Abigail Boyd made a plea for the Lord’s Prayer to be replaced with something more inclusive and representative of all people.
At the National Secular Lobby, we're pleased to have joined forces with a number of pro-secular community organisations in the #DontDivideUs campaign against the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill. Add your voice to the campaign.