parliament houseThe Greens sure are committed.



Last week in the Senate they tried and failed to remove the Lord’s Prayer from parliament.



Since 1901, the prayer has been recited at the start of each sitting day in the senate and house of representatives by the president and speaker respectively.



A group of committed pray-ers is always present in each chamber. No one is forced.



Australia did not become what it is in a vacuum. Christianity had a profound impact on the development of western institutions, including parliament.



While not everyone in Australia is Christian (although more than 60 per cent tell the census they are), nothing changes the fact that Christianity made a significant contribution to making Australia what it is today.



It is a simple fact that Christianity is part of our cultural heritage in a way that other religions are not. That is no disrespect to them. The ethics and ideas of other religions simply did not have the same impact on the formation of western values and the Australian nation.



As the pre-European peoples of this land, indigenous people, are of course a huge part of our cultural heritage. Recognition of their cultural heritage is also acknowledged in parliament each day and that is fair enough. The Greens have not sought to remove this.



Most of us would condemn the cutting down of a 113 year old tree, but when it comes to our cultural heritage the Greens are happy to fell any vestiges of the values of our past.



Greens Senator Richard Di Natale cites the separation of church and state for wanting to remove the prayer.



This misunderstanding of the concept is becoming wearisome. The Greens and others who abuse this concept are attempting to cloak their secularism in neutrality and objectivity, but in reality seem to be excluding Christianity in order to substitute their own secular irreligion.



Australia was founded with the principle of separation of church and state but it was never meant to keep religious ideas, people or even prayers out of public life.



It was simply to ensure that Australia, unlike Britain, did not have an established church constitutionally entwined with the state.



The idea was for all religions to be allowed to flourish without any being favoured by the state.



This in no way precludes the Lord’s Prayer being recited or the Muslim MP Ed Husic swearing an oath on the Koran, as he did when he was appointed to the front bench during the previous government.



There is a clash of ideas and values occurring in our political discourse. That’s fine, that’s healthy, that’s democracy.



Suggesting that someone’s faith has no place in the workplace, as Senator Di Natale did, is anti-democratic. Why are Di Natale’s views superior?



Australia would not be the nation it is today if ethical ideas informed by faith were disbarred from the public discourse.



Whether people believe in God or not, the ideas of the teacher Jesus embodied in the Lord’s Prayer are worth reflecting on.



The idea that humans are not the font of all power is especially worth meditating on. Especially in parliament.



Meanwhile, the Greens have vowed to keep fighting to remove the prayer in the same way they are relentlessly campaigning to redefine marriage.



It is time to push back on their vision to deconstruct our civic and family life.



They are a small political party but they have a big voice. Seasoned with grace, we should start to use our voice. Silence is no longer an option.