I read online yesterday morning that the Greens want Parliament to quit saying The Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each sitting day.
This from Fairfax:
The Lord’s Prayer in Federal Parliament is an anachronism, according to Greens senator Richard di Natale, who is calling to have the prayer scrapped.
The acting Greens leader announced on Tuesday that when Parliament returns in February, he will move to end the reading of prayers at the start of each sitting day.
He will ask the Senate’s Procedure Committee to amend the standing orders and look to his Greens colleague Adam Bandt to do the same in the Lower House.
Frankly, I was shocked. Not that the Greens want the practice scrapped, but that IT’S STILL HAPPENING AT ALL.
Is this our parliament or have we been teleported to St Annunciata’s Catholic Primary School, 1952?
It’s 2014. As 49.8 per cent of Australians identify as non-Christian (22.3 per cent say they have no religion at all) it seems silly to recite a Christian prayer in a parliament that’s meant to represent everyone. I think it’s a bit rude too. It’s an exclusive act in a place that should be a shining example of inclusive.
Personally, I like the Lord’s Prayer. I know all the words and so do my kids. We also know the Hail Mary and, on a good day, the Angelus. That’s because we identify as Catholic. We’re not every-week mass-goers, and we’re not submarine Catholics either (surfacing for the holidays) but it’s who I am and it’s how we choose to educate our kids. Choose being the operative word.
Of course, there are people who send their kids to Catholic schools and object to their kids being taken out of class to go to church. Seriously, they do. Look, plenty of times I’ve found Mass boring and I know my kids do, but it’s a Catholic school. Surely objecting to mass is like signing your kid up for AFL and getting upset when they won’t let him score tries.
Anyway, this is not about me. And it’s not about Catholic (or Christian) bashing.
This is about our government and growing up. And, we are, like it or not, a largely secular country. Sure, a shade over half the population ticked the Christian box on the census form, so if you want to be nitpick about it, you could argue we’re a Christian country. But it would be a tenuous argument and one I bet you won’t win in a couple more years. Let’s get on the front foot.
A friend of mine, let’s call her Devil’s Advocate, said to me, ‘Yes, but Kate, if you were invited to join a Jewish family for dinner on a Friday night would you ask them to ditch the prayers and the candles because they aren’t relevant to you? Would you ask for a bacon sandwich because you don’t like fish? No, you wouldn’t.’