Traditions are meant to be broken.
And religions are meant to be practiced in places of worship or the privacy of your home. Or perhaps out among nature. But in the 21st Century, religion should not be comingled with government or practiced in government institutions.
With that in mind, Victoria’s parliament is right to consider breaking with a century of tradition by doing away with the Lord’s Prayer from daily official proceedings.
The decision was embraced by Fiona Patten Reason Party Lear, who has been calling for a change in the opening of parliament each day.
It was sent to the upper house committee for review on Wednesday by Special Minster of State Garvin Jennings.
Since 1918, state parliament has opened every sitting day with the prayer, but in recent times this has been swapped out for the Acknowledgement of Country, as reported by the Australian Associated Press.
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Lord’s Prayer axe, a nod to diversity
Patten pointed out it was ‘high time’ an alternative to the Lord’s Prayer be found, one which reflected the separation of the church and State, and recognises Victoria’s 153 religions.
‘Victoria is built on diversity and multiculturalism,’ she said in a statement.
‘Removing the Lord’s Prayer is a nod to how diverse the Victorian parliament is.’
Following the footsteps of ACT legislative assembly in replacing the Lord’s Prayer with acknowledgement or silent reflection — was one option suggested.
Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz is a Catholic and supports the Lord’s Prayer but advocated the review process.
‘If we need to share other prayers and recognise other religions or other traditions I am more than happy to consider that,’ she said.
Premier Daniel Andrews also Catholic hinted he was open to change, as reported by AAP.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Christianity made up 52% of religion in Australia in 2016. In Victoria it’s slightly lower at 47.9%.
But an increasing number of Australians, 30% to be exact, are reporting no religion. Victoria has the highest number, at 10.6%, according to the 2016 Census data.
Meanwhile a smaller portion of Australians (12%) noted they practiced a religion other than Christianity.
Victoria is losing its religion
The Lord’s Prayer is said in federal parliament and every other state and territory parliament — at each opening sitting — except the ACT, as reported by AAP.
In 2015, Greens MPs Ellen Sandell and Sam Hibbins were criticised for entering the chamber once the prayer had finished, ever since it’s been the cornerstone for the issue in Victoria.
It’s clear that many Australians and especially Victorians are losing their religion — and it’s time for Victorian Parliament to do the same.
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