Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gillard directly addresses Christians and issues of faith

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been directly questioned about religious faith and the future of the Christian vote in Australia during an interview this morning on ABC Radio.

The Australian newspaper reports that Ms Gillard appeared to 'surprised' when asked whether she believed in God and how she would court the Christian vote.

'I'm not a religious person,' Ms Gillard told ABC radio.

'I was brought up in the Baptist Church but during my adult life I've, you know, found a different path. I'm of course a great respecter of religious beliefs, but they're not my beliefs.'
'I am not going to pretend a faith I don't feel. And for people of faith the greatest compliment I could pay to them is to respect their genuinely held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine. I think it's not the right thing.'

The Australian report continues:

Ms Gillard said she 'never thought it was the right thing for me to go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance. I am what I am. And people will judge that'.

'For, you know, people of faith what I would say to them is I grew up in a Christian Church, a Christian background, a Baptist Church, I won prizes for catechism for being able to remember Bible verses. I am steeped in that tradition but I've made decisions in my adult life about my own views.'

Ms Gillard declined to say if she was worried about the Christian vote, indicating she was more concerned with the 'national interest (and) about doing the right thing by Australians'.

'What I can say to Australians broadly of course is that I believe you can be a person of strong principle and values from a variety of perspectives. And I've outlined mine to you.'

See the full story in The Australian.

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