Saturday, June 16, 2007

Keeping the prayer

Parliament has decided to keep its opening prayer, after a survey of members showed no great desire to change it. IMHO religion is not something that can be morally inflicted through democracy - advocates of the current prayer only have to ask themselves how they'd feel about Parliament opening each day with the shahadah or a Black Mass to see that - but for practical purposes it means the issue is dead for this Parliamentary term.

Since the politicians are pretending that this is just about the traditions and management of the House, rather than a symbolic imposition of state religion, I think the next step is to get them to formally vote on it at the beginning of the next term to decide the issue for that Parliament. That will at least make it clear that this is a conscious choice of Parliament, and have the added advantage of forcing MPs to go on-record with their views about freedom of religion, so they can then be held to account for them.


It's a pretty crappy and gutless stance by most MPs. The problem is the cringing deference everyone supposedly needs to adopt when dealing with religion. If you're going to have a little aphorism at the start of each sitting, why not commit themselves to the NZ voters who put them there - or to the Bill of Rights - or to the noble parliamentary tradition. Why, oh, why, get all gooey about some dead jewish guy?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/16/2007 01:24:00 PM

I really don't think it's appropriate to ask non-Christians to pray "Almighty God ... through Jesus Christ". At the very least they should have made the prayer non-specific.

Posted by Muerk : 6/16/2007 01:43:00 PM