|Billy Graham (source).|
Anyway, it turns out that Susanne Guenther, of Brampton’s The Salvation Army, has decided to launch a petition against removing the prayer.
From the petition itself:
To begin Council meetings with the Lord's Prayer is to acknowledge there is a higher power, and to petition a blessing for all the people of Brampton. There are no exclusive terms within the prayer. It asks for provision and protection for all people. There can be no wording more inclusive than those already spoken. Canada is a Nation that has grown and prospered because of it's (sic) foundation of Biblical Principals (sic) that are for every people in this world. To remove a foundation is detrimental to a firm structure.Let's take a close look at one of the Lord's Prayers. I'll choose the Catholic one because apparently this completely non-exclusive prayer has several different versions because it's been reinterpreted several times by different groups. I'm guessing Jews, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Pastafarians, Rastafarians, Zoroastrians or Hindus are not one of those groups.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
I wonder what the Wiccans would say about Our Father? I wonder what the Zen Buddhists would say about who art in heaven? What do non-believers of the Bible thing of thy kingdom come? Does this kingdom include Lakshmi or Ganesh? What about the traditional Native gods who may have been pushed out of the minds by this very prayer over the past few centuries by zealous missionaries right here in Canada? It goes on and on. Of course, if you're an atheist none of this is even the slightest bit non-exclusive.
Is it not blatantly obvious that biblical principles are not foundational to any religion on earth that doesn't base itself on the Bible? Why are we even having this discussion?
However, what immediately hit me about this was a realization that most people out there seem to see little matters like human rights as being up for a general vote. You know, little things like protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
From a Mississauga News article on this:
Guenther said she is worried that dropping the prayer goes against what the majority of Brampton residents want.If the population of Brampton becomes majority non-Christian, I'll be looking forward to Guenther's energetic defense of Islamic or Buddhist prayers at city council meetings. We can wait five or ten years to let it become a tradition as well, if it will help.
“I’ve never heard anyone complain about the Lord’s Prayer, and I wanted to know if there are other people that feel the same way as I do,” she said as to her motive behind the petition. “It’s like everyone is afraid to say something and so I’m just saying what other people are thinking.”
The tradition of reciting the Lord’s Prayer at council – and that it represents the Christian background Canada was built on – should be upheld, she said.
“If you are going to lead with any prayer, it’s as good as any,” she said, noting that she attends council meetings regularly. “I’m just standing up for what I always thought was a good thing.”Well, then I suppose it's nothing special. If it's as good as any then why don't we switch things up every so often and have some invocations to other deities? Why is it so important for people to participate in this theater? Perhaps if it wasn't so important, people like me would pay it no mind.
Regardless of this oft-used ruse of claiming it's no big deal, it's just tradition, recitation of this prayer is important, it's a statement that this is a Christian Nation and other religions (and non-religions) better remember that. It's a bizarre attempt to defend a homogenous Canada from the cultural diversity that is Canada today.
Here's hoping the Saguenay prayer case goes our way.