Last week the Victorian Labor government announced that they would consider removing the recital of the Lord’s Prayer before parliament deliberates.
The move followed comments made by Fiona Patten of the Reason Party.
It is a sad day when a practice – which has been a part of Victorian parliamentary tradition since 1918 – could be removed based on the urging of one person.
The Lord’s Prayer is such an important reminder of the origins of our democracy. It is a prayer symbolic of the Christian ethos that underpins western civilisation, a civilisation which has fostered free and prosperous societies, including our very own liberal democracy.
Why would parliament want to remove something which points to such an important part of our history?
Perhaps it’s due to the content of the prayer itself.
In an age where the highest order is self, it is understandable that a prayer which forces each of us to consider there might be something more could be too much for some to bear.
However, even the atheist political philosopher Jurgen Habermas said;
“Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. To this day, there is no alternative to it”.
The Lord’s Prayer should continue to be a reminder of our heritage as a nation and as a democracy.
It stands as an invitation for those we have elected to make legislation on our behalf to reflect before making major decisions that affect all Victorians.
That is why we are urging the Victorian Parliament to keep the centenary old tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer as a reminder of the reason our parliament exists in the first place – to create good and fair legislation for the benefit or all Victorians.