Readers have their say on councillors continuing prayer

THE Christian prayer at the Fraser Coast Regional Council's meetings could be expanded to include all religions, councillor Rolf Light has declared.

Every third Wednesday at the council's meetings, a different church leader from the region leads the Coast's councillors in a Christian prayer.

Designed to guide the councillors in their decision making, the tradition has been upheld in the Fraser Coast since Maryborough and Hervey Bay was amalgamated in 2008.

Before each meeting the Bundaberg Regional Council says a prayer and on each sitting day of the Queensland Parliament a prayer is read out by the Speaker.

The Chronicle understands internal discussions have been held between councillors about the future of the morning prayer.

Councillor Rolf Light said the Christian prayer could be expanded to include other religions.

"I'd like to talk about it at the next meeting," he said.

"I think it should be opened up to all, why should it only be Christian (prayer)?"

Cr Light's colleague James Hansen said the said the frequency of holding prayers should be discussed.

"Maybe you could compromise and have it once a quarter - I don't think we need it every meeting," he said.

Fraser Coast mayor and former priest Gerard O'Connell said the tradition should remain.

"It's symbolic but it's meaningful," he said.

"Pastors and church leaders come to the civic leaders and pray a prayer over them."

Councillor George Seymour said he did not have "any issue" with it continuing and Stuart Taylor thanked the leaders for addressing the council.

"I really enjoy the fact the church leadership make the effort to come and engage with council," he said.

The Chronicle asked its Facebook readers what they thought about the councillors continuing their Christian prayer at each meeting.

Andrew Ellis wants the council to scrap prayer completely.

"We are a secular country and there's no place for any religion in political decision making," he wrote.

"The councillors can pray at home in their own time if they want to."

Stephen Cameron said if prayer was to continue then all religions should be represented.

"We are a multicultural and multi-denominational society - either include the lot, or scrap it," he wrote.

On the Chronicle's website several hundred people had their say in a poll, 'what do you think about the Christian prayer at a council meeting?'

About 76% of people said the prayer should remain, 21% should all prayer should be stopped while about 2% said more faith's prayers should be heard.

What do you think about the Christian prayer at a council meeting?

This poll ended on 04 February 2016.

Current Results

The Christian prayer should remain

68%

All prayer should be stopped

26%

Prayers of more religions should be heard

5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.