Prime Minister Julia Gillard, a self-proclaimed atheist, may have been one of the few guests at the wedding of the now Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who understood the hymns.
Welsh-born, the young Baptist churchgoer who worked part-time as a teenager with the Salvation Army in South Australia, was likely familiar from her childhood church days with the hymns Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer (which, incidentally, doubles as the Welsh rugby anthem) and Love Divine All Love Excelling, if not also the third hymn at the wedding, Jerusalem. Prime Minister Gillard may even have sung the hymns with some gusto.
For an atheist, this Prime Minister is sympathetic to Christianity. As is well known, living unmarried with her partner, Julia Gillard does not support changes to the Marriage Act to allow same-sex unions or to even allowing civil unions that mimic marriage. She is avowedly atheistic, yet says she favours the continuation of the school chaplaincy program for chaplains. The Prime Minister does not believe in the existence of a deity yet she supports the daily recital of the Lord’s Prayer in Federal Parliament and the continuation of that tradition. This is an atheist Prime Minister who can remember her bible verses.