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Throne Speech prayer a cheap shot

Dear Mr Editor,

I had the good fortune of being invited to the Throne Speech on Friday. In my mind, the event is intended to bring under the big tent all walks of life, with the aim of building community where differences and divisions disappear in favour of unity, respect and wellbeing.

It is a time for optimism and the promise of a better tomorrow for all Bermudians.

What saddened me is that the member of the clergy who was invited to give the opening prayer thought this an appropriate time to pray that Jesus and Bermudians come together in favour of heterosexual marriages.

Of course, there is the wider issue of whether it is ever appropriate to mix the inclusive business of government with religion, particularly when we live in a country where we have the fundamental right to believe in any version of God we like or no god at all. Of more immediate concern is that a member of the clergy would use his invitation to give an opening prayer at the Throne Speech as a vehicle for putting forth his religion's view on marriage.

I broke from the prayer he offered, as it was nothing more than an opportunistic and divisive mini-sermon.

It lacked class and sensitivity, and it was a cheap shot, as he knew by the nature of the ceremony that no one would be able to challenge or debate his viewpoint.

When a Throne Speech prayer turns from a conversation with a higher power for universal help and guidance to a sermon that the country should be run in a particular way in accordance with a particular religious order, we have entered dangerous ground.

TIM MARSHALL

Chance for unity: the Governor, George Fergusson, delivers the Throne Speech on Friday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published November 16, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated November 16, 2015 at 1:46 pm)

Throne Speech prayer a cheap shot

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