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Soft Theocracy at Work in Australia’s Federal Parliament

Media Release: The Secular Association of NSW

At 7.30am on the 6th of February 2023, the opening day of parliament for 2023, the first thing that the Governor-General, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition did was to attend an ecumenical church service at St Paul’s Church in Manuka, ACT, to receive the blessing of the church for the parliamentary year.

On 25 February 2023 the prime minister, (who affirmed rather than swear on the Bible at his swearing in July 2022) marched in the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney.

But in the Anglican Church on 6 February, the prime minister read a lesson from Book of Psalms, 24, 1-5:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Saviour.

After the service, the members and senators returned to parliament and at 10am the Speaker of the House of Representatives commenced business with the following prayers:

Almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee to vouch safe Thy blessing upon this Parliament. Direct and prosper our deliberations to the advancement of Thy glory, and the true welfare of the people of Australia.

This was followed by the Lord’s Prayer, Luke 11, 2-4.

The annual church service is organised by the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship (PCF) and the ACT Churches Council.

They also organise an annual ‘Prayer Breakfast’ held in the Great Hall of the parliament, with a guest speaker and say, ‘The PCF hosts a number of events throughout the year, some of which are open to the public.’

So, what are these events occurring in the federal parliament, that are not open to the public?

What compels the Governor-General, the prime minister, and the leader of the opposition to attend a church service to mark the opening of the parliament when no such service occurs for the opening of the state parliaments – or the parliament of New Zealand?

The 2021 Census found that citizens identifying as Christians had slipped to 44 per cent. Therefore, they are no longer a majority in Australia.

Why do we still have Christian prayers in the supposedly secular parliament and why does government defer to Christianity by participating in a religious service prior to the opening of parliament?

 

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6 comments

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  1. Harry Lime

    It’s the starting gun for the avalanche of hypocrisy that ensues in parliament.You know it makes sense.

  2. Michael Peters

    Have a go
    Get a go
    All is forgiven
    Go

  3. Anthony Judge

    Helps to understand why government has such difficulty in addressing problems deriving from ever-increasing population. “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). It is a real challenge to envisage strategies which fail to recognize the key problem (https://bit.ly/3J9fkao). How indeed to respond to housing, environmental degradation, resource issues, flooding, urban violence, etc, when ignoring the systemic insights of root cause analysis?

  4. New England Cocky

    A challenging post that makes one question the separation of church & state.

  5. Kerri

    Hear hear!

  6. Steve Davis

    Interesting headline in today’s Guardian from Katherine Murphy; “Stuart Robert’s refusal to take the blame for robodebt isn’t just offensive, it’s terrifying.”

    It seems apparent that a fair number of libs think that they’ve worked out how to use parliament to their personal advantage.

    From the article; “Good soldiering apparently required supplying inaccurate or less-than-candid statements during media interviews…because “ministers are required to defend the government’s programs as part of cabinet solidarity regardless of [whether] they agree with them or not”.”

    Looks as though when you become a minister you can get away with anything because it would be impossible to sue or gaol the entire cabinet.

    How good are parliamentary church services ?

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