Mayor Helen Westwood

Dear Helen,
I was disturbed that Matthew Squires is attempting to influence the Bankstown Council to reintroduce Christian prayers as an opening to its meetings.

Australia is not only a multicultural society, it is multi-denominational as well.

Even so, only 5% of the religious attend a place of worship on a weekly basis and as census figures show, 30% of people ascribe to no religion at all. If it is taken into account that many fill in the census by habit and family ties, the figure for the non-religious could be 50% or higher.

Many Christians are exaggerating the need for prayers by insisting our roots and laws are derived from Christianity. There are strong arguments against this proposition but the opinion of both sides on this is irrelevant to the present. Australia considers itself to be a secular nation with the ethos of a separation of Church and State a taken for granted.

The examples of the interference of religion in state matters are well documented on the world stage and we should sit up and start taking notice of them.

To bring Christian prayers back into Council meetings would be introducing a wedge in the broad spectrum of peaceful toleration now enjoyed.

It is the rational hope of the Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc. that the prayer proposition not be initiated.

Very kind regards,
David Nicholls
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc.

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