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Prayers from several religions will now find a place at the Ontario legislature’s opening each day, according to Religion News Service.

Making a compromise

The municipal councils used to begin their daily meetings by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, associated with the Christian religion. But in early 2008, Secular Ontario threatened to take them to court if they continued the ritual. The organization of atheist Canadians felt such an act implied that the legislature was for Christians only.

The government of Ontario has held several debates about religion and politics over the last few months. Finally they came up with a compromise in June that would keep them out of hot water with Secular Ontario.

The compromise? Keep the Lord’s Prayer, but add in prayers from eight other religions and a moment of silence for the non-religious. Among those religions whose prayers will be incorporated are Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i, and Sikhism.

Inclusion for diversity

This change is a good example of a move toward inclusion. Inclusion is a method of showing that all religions have merit and truth in some way and/or that all deserve representation and respect. It’s the idea of religious diversity — a cornucopia of religions tha twould all be placed on the same level, in the same arena. Exclusion, obviously, is the opposite. A religion is sometimes called “exclusive” when its followers claim their religion is the only true religion or that their beliefs must be followed in order to attain the goal of religion (whether that’s eternal life, cessation of suffering, or something else).

Wondering about the Lord’s Prayer?

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer prayed by Jesus, and it can be found in the New Testament of The Bible (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4). In those verses, Jesus teaches his followers to pray a prayer he teaches them to pray. Many Christian churches pray that Lord’s Prayer at each worship gathering, including Catholics who sometimes call this prayer the “Our Father.”

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