Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

The Lord’s Prayer and the Ontario Legislature

Posted by chinesecanuck on April 11, 2008

The Lord’s Prayer (the PROTESTANT version) is still very much part daily services at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (aka Queen’s Park), but there are those who are clamouring for change, including the current premier, Dalton McGuinty, who opened the topic up for debate in February and was discussed again on April 10. But should it?  I realize that Ontario is made up of people of different religions now, should things be eliminated for the sake of a different population?  Is it truly all that offensive?  We haven’t eliminated Christmas or Easter yet, after all.  Or rather, is Dalton McGuinty just upset that the Protestant version is used, rather than the Catholic “Our Father” (which eliminates “For thine is the kingdom/And the power, /And the glory, /Forever.”)?  Who knows.

Many of our beloved traditions are now being eliminated or bastardized all in the name of inclusivity.  And this, IMHO, makes some young people more ignorant.  Even though World Religions is a course offered by the Ontario Ministry of Education (and has for a number of years), I have yet to meet someone outside of a religious based school who has taken it or any other religion course.  Many feel uncomfortable discussing such topics and even more uncomfortable (especially if you are not of a faith that remotely resembles the “majority” religion) visiting institutions of faith or even hearing someone talk about their faith.  And I don’t understand why.  Just because you’re visiting a church, synagogue, mosque or other House of Worship doesn’t mean that they’re going to try to convert you (hello!  I went to a school that is linked to the Anglican Church of Canada.  We had to go to regular services.  All of us.  Including students of other faiths.  There are non-Christian alum who can tell you what their favourite hymn at school was and even sing it for you.)!  It sounds all very close-minded to me.  The less you know about something, the more ignorant you become about it.  There are plenty of non-Christians out there who only know Christianity from what they see in media.  Usually, what they see is a small section of Christianity as the evangelical churches seem to get the most attention (sure, Catholics had some issues a while back, but the media didn’t focus on services).  And guess what?  Historically, the evangelical, far-right churches were not part of the ruling classes!  Old line Protestant churches (e.g. Anglican (Episcopal in the US), Presbyterian, Methodists, etc) were.

But back to the Lord’s Prayer and tradition.  I think it’s the PC police acting up again, trying to change something that doesn’t really need changing. The fact is, not to many people are even requesting change.  Frank Dimant, a representative of the B’nai Brith of Canada, a Jewish organization said, according to the Toronto Star, that there are more important issues to discuss, such as crime and the economy.  On the pro-Lord’s Prayer camp, tradition is often cited.  One legislative member said that the entire Parliamentary system is based on Christianity and that in Britain, the original assemblies were at churches.  He also didn’t care what the federal government or other provincial governments do (non-denominational prayers or reflection).  Pretty much the only people who do want change are secular organizations.  And many cite that there’s a separation of church and state.  Guess what?  We live in Canada.  THERE’S NO OFFICIAL POLICY!

Honestly, if you don’t like it, don’t say it.  That’s what people who didn’t like religious services did in my old school.  They stood when they had to stand, sat when they had to sit, but that was it.

At last they’re opening this up to the public.  How do you feel?  What should Queen’s Park do?

By the way, this site has a list of different versions of the Lord’s Prayer, including some new incarnations (which I think bastardizes it.  I don’t even like the 1977 version that the Church of England adopted)


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