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Lord’s Prayer out in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 23, 2011 p 6. September 28, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Complaints by devotees of the new atheism in Australia have beaten back the Lord’s Prayer from the public square. A primary school in Perth’s northern suburbs has ended the reciting of the Lord’s Prayer before school assemblies after some parents complained that it violated the law by promoting religious belief over non-belief.

On 20 September, Edgewater Primary School principal Julie Tombs wrote to parents announcing the cessation of prayers after 25 years, after a survey of parents indicated that some were opposed to the practice.

“We acknowledge that of the parents who did respond to the survey, many wanted to retain the Lord’s Prayer and it is right that we continue to recite it at culturally appropriate times such as Christmas and Easter, as part of our educational programme,” Mrs Tombs said in a statement.

“However, at this school we have students from a range of backgrounds and it is important to consider all views and not promote one set of religious beliefs and practices over another.”

A survey sent by the school to parents found that a small minority were offended by their children having to recite the Lord’s Prayer once every two weeks. Parents who enrol their children at the school had been informed that recital of the Lord’s Prayer was part of the school assembly programme.

The complaints to the school, which is in an area with few religious minorities, arose from parents who opposed any prayer. While only 36 per cent of the parents responded to the survey and of that group only a minority were opposed to the prayers, Mrs Tombs stated the argument that Western Australia Education Act forbade state schools from fostering sectarian religious creeds.

WA Premier Colin Barnett told the AAP that “WA is basically a Christian-based community and I think its desirable to have the Lord’s Prayer said.”

However, the “decision rests at the school level. Certainly schools can, and I would encourage them to, have the Lord’s Prayer.”

The Very Rev John Shepherd, the Dean of Perth, concurred, saying there was a place for the Lord’s Prayer in a multi-faith environment at government schools.

“I think there is a place [for the Lord’s Prayer], just as there is a place for exposing children to the full knowledge of other faiths,” Dr Shepherd said, adding “it does embody values to which we all ascribe.”

One mother interviewed by Nine News as she picked her children up from school summarized the complaints as being “ridiculous” for giving a vocal minority control over public life.

Comments

1. NotAScientist - September 28, 2011

“One mother interviewed by Nine News as she picked her children up from school summarized the complaints as being “ridiculous” for giving a vocal minority control over public life.”

This mother doesn’t understand that, if it was giving the minority control, then you’d be hearing the minority’s views. As they’re not, her anonymous complaint is unjustified.

2. Lord’s Prayer Out in Australia « Fr Stephen's Blog - September 30, 2011

[…] to those selfish and wicked new atheists: Complaints by devotees of the new atheism in Australia have beaten back the Lord’s Prayer from […]


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