Prayer is a big deal
I am referring to the editorial in the Bendigo Advertiser of December 18, in which the editor and our new mayor Jennifer Alden are of the view that "scaling back the opening prayer at the commencement of the City of Greater Bendigo council meetings should not be seen as a wholesale dumping or rejection of the practice".
Wrong. It is a dumping of that well-known prayer. For centuries it has, and still is used in countless civilized countries at the beginning of meetings of all kinds, including government meetings at high level.
Diverse societies historically, are nothing new. Our mayor may well think that she has discovered diversity is something novel, but she appears to show ignorance in this area. Sad.
I doubt whether, for example, Muslims who treat Jesus Christ as a great prophet, would be offended by the Lord's Prayer, he taught his disciples. Even in 2020. Entry into a mosque requires removal of shoes also for non-Muslims and they would do this as a matter of respect.
Entry by whites into some areas of Australia may require a smoking ceremony by the indigenous population there.
Is our council tainted by the "cancel culture", lately advocated by extreme minorities? In this philosophy anything that smacks of Western origin and culture is to be destroyed. It applies to art, history, music, all forms of government and authority, commerce, Christian worship, logical arguments etc.
In fact no area is expected in this witless destruction. It is sweeping the world and not only Western cultures; in Australia much of it under the guise of political correctness.
Note that the long held traditions of a prayer at the start of each council meeting does not mean that all present necessarily need to accept this as a personal or heartfelt conviction. But that does not mean abandon it !
So what is to be put in its place? According to the editorial: silent prayer or collecting one's thoughts and reflecting on, would you believe it, the solemnity of the council meeting ahead. Does that sound like a new religion? It might offend some councillors. Be careful here.
The opening prayer at the beginning of meetings would, in my view, have the opposite effect. It would encourage diversity. It would maintain a healthy respect for one another and another's deeply held opinions.
All councillors would be aware that prayer is part of the Judean-Christian tradition on which for centuries the West was built in every area of our society. And there is no valid reason to discard that tradition. Even the Morris-Frydenberg duo are a prime example of that.
Maintaining a prayer at the beginning of council meetings is a big deal. Continue it.
Jack Venema, Strathdale
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