Tuesday, 02 July 2013

A Prayer for Friendship in the Presence of Difference

Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney, the President of the Uniting Church Assembly, has called on Australians to show due respect for each other’s faith, after a Muslim MP was vilified for choosing to swear his oath of office on the Koran.

Western Sydney MP Ed Husic became the first Australian Federal Member of Parliament to take his ministerial oath on the Koran when sworn in as a Parliamentary Secretary this week. He subsequently became a target of abuse on social media.

“This was a moment in our history as a nation to celebrate our diversity and our success as a multicultural society,” said Rev. Professor Andrew Dutney.

“Instead Australians of goodwill are again forced to rebut attacks that display the worst kind of religious intolerance.”

“The representation of people of all faiths in our Parliament is something of which we can be justly proud.”

The National Director responsible for the Uniting Church’s relations with other faiths, Rev. Glenda Blakefield, has called on Australians of all faiths – and those of no faith as well - to open their hearts in friendship to those who are different from us. 

“We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves, regardless of religion, culture, ethnicity or beliefs,” said Rev. Blakefield.

“The Uniting Church in Australia actively seeks to promote the knowledge and understanding of other living world faiths and communities through our Relations with Other Faiths work.”

“This ministry, which works with Islamic, Jewish and other faiths, acknowledges the Uniting Church’s role in our multicultural and multi-faith society.”

“God delights in diversity and seeks unity from us, which is why we work towards creating relationships with other faiths as an important part of our ministry,” said Rev. Blakefield, who is also Associate General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia.