No prayers in Council meetings

Principal Petitioner Carmen Seaby, St Lucia
Closing Date Mon, 31 Jul 2017
No. of signatures 492 signatures

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This petition raises concern that a prayer is recited during Brisbane City Council meetings.

- The Queensland Constitution does not state that Queensland is a Christian state.

- Our secular system of government requires separation of church and state.

- Prayers during Council meetings are imposing the beliefs of one religion in an elected public forum. This compromises government impartiality.

- Ratepayers don't expect to pay elected representatives to say prayers during Council meetings.

- A Christian prayer may be inappropriate to Councillors, Council staff, and citizens of other faiths, or no faith.

- Census results show the decrease of Christianity and an increase of non-Christian religions in Australia. Why does Council publicly favour Christian over non-Christian religions?

- Census results show increasing numbers of Australians have no religion. Only 5% of Australians regularly attend church services and less than 30% of weddings are performed in churches.

- The Canadian Supreme Court in 2015 ruled unanimously that Saguenay Council reciting a prayer during official meetings is unlawful. The judgement said the state must "remain neutral" in matters of religious belief. "This neutrality requires that the state neither favour nor hinder any particular belief, and the same holds true for non-belief. It requires that the state abstain from taking any position and thus avoid adhering to a particular belief."

Your petitioners request that Council remove religious prayers and references from all Council business, thereby confirming government impartiality in matters of religious belief.

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