Deakin's Bill to teach Religion in State Schools. 16
Deakin was very out spoken about the importance of getting religion taught in all government run state schools and he believed it was a critical responsibility of government to legislate for an "elementary un-sectarian religious instruction" program. Deakin says in a passionate debate in parliament "This Chamber in common with every other Legislative Chamber in Australia, thought fit to amend the first draft of the Commonwealth Constitution Bill in order that the name of the Deity might be inserted in its preamble,
did we not then, by that very act, indicate our sense of the wisdom of placing a recognition of religion in the very forefront of what we hope will be the Constitution of the future nation? As we have thus expressed our recognition of the Deity upon parchment, how much greater is the necessity for impressing it upon the plastic minds of the children of the community."
"..to me it seems that it is of the highest importance to the future well-being of this colony" Alfred Deakin 5th October 1898 - Victorian Legislative Assembly Chamber. (Deakin 8 page transcript) The bill was sadly unsuccessful.
Deakin prayer on 28th August 1898- One month before his debate on religion in schools.
"Infinite and absolute spirit, life, goodness and power grant me the gift of concentration upon high ideals that I may make them mine and at last make them me. Shaping and reshaping my life, acts and thoughts, let me steadily seek to raise them towards the Divine in Love, unselfishness, purity and unsensualness. Weak, soiled, stumbling, make me the means of help to others and especially to those near me and most under influence. I am content if I can fulfil Thy Will anywhere and in any garb yet let me not fail because of undue suppression in that manful part, in energy, in encourage, in resolution and in answer to Thy call and my duty. Base as I am O God permit me to serve - effectively."