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Christian worship 'thriving in Parliament'

A background report in today's Sydney Morning Herald highlights that fact that "conservative Christianity roared back into political fashion at last month's federal election", and that "Christian worship is thriving in Parliament".

The report points out that the Liberals' Louise Markus, a prominent member of the Hillsong Church, was elected to the Sydney seat of Greenway, while Steve Fielding, a member of the Christian right Family First Party, was elected to the Senate in Victoria.

It says that earlier this year the conservative Christian lobby sustained bipartisan support for new laws banning gay marriage.

The report mentions that each sitting week, politicians including the Coalition's John Anderson, Peter Costello, Danna Vale, Eric Abetz, Alan Cadman and Bronwyn Bishop, and Labor's Harry Quick - meet for a Bible reading. Topics include humility and servanthood.

Each fortnight, politicians and staffers have breakfast together to listen to a religious talk. Guests have included the Catholic Cardinal George Pell, the Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen, the Reverend Tim Costello and the former president of the Uniting Church, the Reverend Professor James Haire.

The Liberal MP Bruce Baird, a regular participant, believes an interesting change is happening in the interface between politics and religion where Pentecostal churches are gaining adherents and influence as traditional churches lose ground. "On one level the importance of the church is diminishing, on the other we seem to be seeing a new breed, a new form [of Christianity replacing it]."

Blessed are the lawmakers (Sydney Morning Herald 24/11/04)

Whose right; whose life? The place of religion in politics (Online Opinion 23/11/04)
Family First
Parliamentary Christian Fellowship (currently offline)
Bruce Baird - The Parliamentary Christian Fellowship Screens the Passion of the Christ

24 Nov 2004