Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Daily Prayer in Parliament

The issue of saying by rote the Lords Prayer at the beginning of parliament arose again yesterday.

Mr Harry Jenkins questions why this Church of England prayer from 1901 should be used today. My guess is that us been an English colony had something to do with the founding of our parliament. This opinion article had actually done a bit of research on the prayer and found out that it didn't in fact come originally from the Church of England but from Matthew 5 which is attributed to something Jesus said.

Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils thinks a prayer that mentions aboriginals or maybe another more inclusive prayer would be better (he has also said that any prayer is better than no prayer). He does have a point I guess. There is no Muslim or Aboriginal prayer at the start of parliament, so it may well seem that they are left out from the proceedings. Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the opposition, sees the prayer as a "reaffirmation of our commitment to the common good for the people of Australia".

In one sense I like how the leaders of our country say words to remind them that God provides, forgives and saves them from evil, but are their words empty? It is one thing to say the same prayer over and over again, it is another thing to actually trust it. It is possible to say one thing and do another, in fact isn't that what politicians are famous for?

A few years ago this issue was debated in the Senate and it failed. This debate doesn't look like it is going to happen as both leaders of the major parties agree to keep it as they see something good about this tradition. It may well be a tradition, but if it has no more than a historical meaning and not a theological one, then they are just blowing hot air.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting question. I'm not a fan of tradition for the sake of tradition, yet I wouldn't want to remove the daily prayer for this reason. Some people would say it by rote, yet others (I hope) would say it (pray it) and genuinely mean it.