Bible ban 'political correctness gone mad'
AN unholy row has erupted over the hand-out of Bibles at citizenship ceremonies. Hobart and Clarence councils this year stopped handing out Bibles after they were told by immigration officials they were no longer needed, The Mercury reports.
Liberal senator Guy Barnett said the move was "political correctness gone mad".
Clarence mayor Jock Campbell said his council had been told by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that if citizenship candidates wanted to swear an oath on a holy book, they needed to bring their own.
Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valentine said his council began advising candidates this year they needed to bring their own. "We were told by immigration, quite some time ago, not to give Bibles out anymore," Ald Valentine said.
Ald Campbell said until this year Bibles supplied by the Bible Society of Australia had been handed out to participants who opted for the Christian oath. "I'd see it as an unnecessary change," he said.
Ald Campbell said the council had contacted the Bible Society for advice on what to do with 72 spare Bibles.
A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said last night it was not appropriate for organisations hosting citizenship ceremonies to give holy books as gifts and this had been the position of the department since 2003.