New Brunswick Legislative Assembly declines Hindu prayer request

New Brunswick Legislative Assembly declines Hindu prayer request

The New Brunswick Legislative Assembly in Canada has rejected requests for a Hindu opening prayer in an upcoming session.

In response to a request from respected Hindu statesman Rajan Zed to read an opening Hindu prayer at an upcoming session of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, Assembly Secretary Shayne Davies wrote: “As indicated by the Speaker, we must respectfully decline your offer. Our well-established practice, dating back over a century, has been to begin each day with a prayer consisting of two separate invocations, followed by the Lord’s Prayer… At this time the Assembly has no intention of departing from this practice.”

Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism, believes that it is simply blatant injustice, exclusionary attitudes, discrimination, favoritism and the imposition of a particular type of religious practice; and does not speak well of a democratic society. “There is no appeal process” against this denial of Hindu prayer, he was told.

Minority religious adherents and non-believers, who had made and continued to make many contributions to New Brunswick and Canada, and paid their share of the taxes, therefore felt excluded from this prayer monopoly. Denial of prayers from minority religions in the New Brunswick Legislature appeared to be an attempt to disparage these faiths under government auspices; Rajan Zed pointed this out in a statement today.

Democratic governments should not be engaged in promoting a religion and excluding others and infidels, thereby violating the human rights of minority religions and infidels; stressed Zed, who opened both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives in Washington DC with Hindu prayers.

Rajan Zed further said that since we are well into the 21st century and New Brunswick is now much more religiously diverse, the privileges and conventions governing prayer in the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly urgently need to be changed.

Zed suggested that it was time for the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly to move to multifaith opening prayers. Since the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly represents every resident of New Brunswick, regardless of religion/denomination/non-belief, it would be appropriate in this increasingly diverse state to have a series of prayers that would celebrate the major religions and Native American spirituality represent, and slots for the thoughts of infidels.

Rajan Zed felt that the existence of different religions was an obvious symbol of God’s bounty and bounty. The New Brunswick Legislature should strive for unity that embraces diversity.

Members currently read the prayer, but it has changed over the years. A chaplain appointed by the Speaker reportedly read the prayers for many years, and pages and scribes were also employed. Since the introduction and passage of routine procedures by the legislature, there has been an opening prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is a well-known prayer in Christianity.

Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion in the world, has about 1.2 billion followers and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

The first session of the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, based in Fredericton, was in 1786. It has 49 seats and the Speaker (currently Bill Oliver) is the Head of the Bureau and the Clerk serves as Deputy Head.

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