Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Calls to Dump the Prayer at Meetings; Man Wants Silence Instead

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Calls to Dump the Prayer at Meetings; Man Wants Silence Instead

Article excerpt

JIM ALOUAT

JOURNALIST

jim.alouat@news-mail.com.au

A BUNDBAERG man wants council to dump the Christian prayer said before all its meetings and have it replaced with a minute's silence.

Barry Fensom, who describes himself as a non-religious sceptic, attended last week's council meeting silently protesting the prayer by holding up a sign quoting Bible verse Matthew 6: 5-6, which is about praying in private.

At every monthly council meeting, Pastor Errol Buckle begins proceedings by sharing an anecdote with some Christian relevance before asking councillors to pray.

Bundaberg is not alone, with prayers read at the opening of state and federal parliamentary sittings and councils across Australia.

But Mr Fensom believes it's time for the tradition to end.

"I understand people have their religious beliefs but I think they can do that at home rather than a government meeting," he said.

"I propose that the religious aspect be replaced with a minute of silence where councillors and the public are free to silently reflect on council proceedings or if they wish, silently pray. …

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