Jane Nethercote writes:
Tomorrow is a day to give
thanks. A day for Australians to say thank you to God and to each other
for those things we often take for granted but which really make our
lives worth living. Que? Tomorrow is the National Day of Thanksgiving.
The PM endorses it. So does the Opposition leader and a host of religious leaders of diverse (Christian) denominations, although the ministries actually supporting the project are of a more evangelical bent.
Who’s behind Australia’s very own Thanksgiving Day? The Australian Prayer Network
started the National Day of Thanksgiving in 2003 – but it’s for
everyone, says Brian Pickering, National Co-ordinator of the Australian
Prayer Network. Last year he told told Radio National’sReligion Reportthat “the day has been specifically designed not just for Christians but for people of any faith or no faith at all”.
Even so, with its clear religious overtones, it’s interesting that politicians
operating in what Alexander Downer once labelled a “secular society”
are so quick to endorse Thanksgiving Day. In the age of Hillsong, is
this event yet another sign that leaders won’t risk not being on board
where the religious vote is concerned? Meanwhile, it probably didn’t hurt
that one of the aims of Thanksgiving Day is to provide “an opportunity to thank our national leaders (and) parliamentarians”.