Jun 29, 2017

It’s 2017, for Christ’s sake. Can we finally stop saying The Lord’s Prayer in Parliament?

Our constitution mandates freedom of religion. So why do we open Parliament with a Protestant prayer?

David Salter

Journalist and former Media Watch executive producer.

“Paris vaut une messe” (“Paris is worth a mass”)

— Henry IV of France

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

12 thoughts on “It’s 2017, for Christ’s sake. Can we finally stop saying The Lord’s Prayer in Parliament?

  1. Barbara Haan

    Are you prepared to start such a petition David? I’m sure plenty of us heathens would be prepared to support it.

  2. Itsarort

    What’s the punishment for simply not reading them out? Cop the flak, cause a furore, expose the hypocrisy and see how it rolls; it’s pretty simple if you’ve got the right stuff.

  3. cyberfysh

    I’m a Christian, but I don’t think it’s appropriate in a secular democracy to begin parliament with any prayer, let alone one which presumes a particular set of faith traditions. However, I do think it is valuable for MPs/Senators to be called to pause and remember their responsibility to advance “the true welfare of the people of Australia”.

  4. Stuart Coyle

    What happens when we eventually have a speaker who is not Christian and does not pay lip service to Christianity? Can the speaker refuse to say a prayer that they find repellent?

    1. AR

      Well our last admitted atheist PM, la Reine Ranga didn’t put a stop to it. And she perpetuated and increased the absurd school chaplain programme, in fear of the ALP Right.

  5. AR

    As atheists are 30% of the population and the proportion is rising strongly, bearing in mind how many people ticked the census religion box reflexively rather than devoutly, it would seem that there is no good reason for the prayer to continue.
    But when has good sense had owt to do with political pusillanimity?

  6. Lord Muck

    They should instead start the day with some secular gospel, I dunno, Imagine, Bridge Over Troubled Water …

    1. AR

      Secular gospel suggestions – Lennon’s “Imagine” is anodyne enough to avoid scaring the horses though my personal choice would be Goanna’s “Solid Rock/Sacred Ground”.

  7. zut alors

    The phrase ‘and forgive us our trespasses’ sets up the Christians to tell a few porkies. Not only do they enjoy parliamentary privilege but, apres prayer, have also set up a contingency deal with the heavens.

  8. andrew whitney

    No we can’t stop saying the Lord’s Prayer in Parliament. Crikey David Salter don’t you realize that Pedro Fernandes de Queiros a Portugese Navigator named Australia, (translated), The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit in 1606? He proclaimed :-
    ‘Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures and all those here present witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros…in the name of Jesus Christ…hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of the human race…on this day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606…I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of Jesus…which from now on shall be called the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost…and this always and forever…to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy, sacred Evangel may be preached zealously and openly.’
    So, there you go, long before our Parliament ever existed Australia has been marked by the Christian God to be a Christian nation and so shall ever more shall be.
    Amen … end of story.
    Bad luck dude … you missed out by 2017 minus 1606 = 411 years. Just missed.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details