Hundreds gather to protest removal of Jesus from Parliamentary Prayer

Hundreds gathered on the rainy Parliament grounds today to protest the removal of Jesus from the Parliamentary Prayer. 

Source: Political Producer Jessica Roden

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Members of The Redeemed Motorcycle Ministry were among those heading for the Beehive. Source: 1 NEWS

In November last year, the New Zealand parliamentary prayer was changed to no longer include a reference to Jesus.

Source: Political Producer Jessica Roden

The change to the Parliamentary prayer were made after a consultation process by the Government on whether to remove reference to Jesus, and the Queen, from the prayer.

Watch 1 News political reporter Benedict Collins from the protest. 

A statment from the rally spokesperson Pastor Ross Smith said the removal of Jesus "will marginalise all faiths and religions".

Source: Political Producer Jessica Roden

"Our national anthem implores God to defend New Zealand yet the Speaker thinks he is above our heritage and legacy and can undo a central foundation on which our country was built."

Speaker Trevor Mallard released a statement today saying he changed the prayer "to be more inclusive to all religions".

Source: Political Producer Jessica Roden

"It includes a reference to God. This form of the prayer was finalised after consulting with his MP colleagues. Rt Hon Bill English, the then Leader of the Opposition described it as striking the right balance. 

"The Speaker respects the views of those who are protesting at today’s rally, and has no plans to make further changes to the Parliamentary prayer."

Watch 1 NEWS at 6 for more on this story. 

The previous prayer: 

Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquility of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The new prayer: 

Almighty God, we give thanks for the blessings which have been bestowed on us. Laying aside all personal interests, we acknowledge the Queen and pray for guidance in our deliberations, that we may conduct the affairs of this House with wisdom, justice, mercy, and humility for the welfare and peace of New Zealand. Amen.