Ecumenical Prayer Hits Canadian Government

(Toronto Star) Prayers have been answered for those who fought to preserve the daily recital of the Lord’s Prayer in the Ontario Legislature.

In a compromise reached four months after Premier Dalton McGuinty said the prayer would no longer be read in the Legislature, MPPs yesterday voted unanimously to maintain the traditional daily prayer reading in the House.

But starting Monday, the Lord’s Prayer will be joined by a rotation of prayers from other major faiths, or a moment of silence to appease agnostics and atheists. Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Baha’i, Sikh, First Nations and non-denominational prayers will alternate, along with a moment of silent reflection.

Asked if he regretted sparking a divisive issue, McGuinty, who skipped the 58-0 vote, said: “Not at all.”

“I knew that some folks would be upset by this, but that doesn’t relieve me of the obligation to ensure that our institutions reflect modern Ontario,” said the Catholic premier, whose mother, Elizabeth McGuinty, scolded him for broaching the subject.

He said he had not yet spoken to her about the change.

“She’s no longer taking my calls,” joked McGuinty.