The parliamentary prayer

October 4th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

blogs on the parliamentary prayer, which is:

Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Gareth says:

Speaking in my personal capacity, I think it’s time to have a discussion around it.  Like many Kiwis and MPs I am not a Christian and I don’t think the prayer reflects the rich and varied religious and spiritual life in New Zealand in 2013. To me, it’s an issue of having – the representatives of the people of New Zealand – actually reflect the people of New Zealand rather than only one religious group. We should have an inclusive ceremonial opening that all kiwis can feel comfortable with, whatever their faith.

Not all Parliaments around the world have a prayer, though most inherited the practice from growing out of Britain’s Westminster model. South Africa’s National Assembly and parts of Canada have a moment of silence for personal reflection for MPs. In Scotland, they rotate speakers of different affiliations to reflect the make-up of the census. One week they might have a Christian speaker, and another a speaker with no religious affiliations.

There are three major options as I see it:

  1. The status quo of a Christian prayer
  2. Change the prayer so it isn’t exclusively Christian, but a general spiritual prayer
  3. Have no prayer at all

My preference is 2. I could make a case for 3, but people don’t have to take part in a prayer if they don’t want to. However having a prayer which is exclusive to one religion is not a good thing, and is a bad precedent.

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168 Responses to “The parliamentary prayer”

  1. Dave Stringer (182 comments) says:

    So is having national holidays based on Christ’s birth and death, but I don’t hear anyone suggesting we abolish Christmas and Easter.

    In the same way Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country, with plenty of citizens who sit outside the state religion, so New Zealand is a Christian country, with many, including me, sitting outside the state religion. Like the Saudis, and most other countries, we should be proud of our heritage, not move towards hiding it away so as not to upset someone of different faith. I, for one Atheist, am not offended by the House prayer.

    The positioning of this post, being after it’s predecessor, is certainly interesting!

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  2. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    If parliament really has time to discuss this, I’d prefer it was spent on the moral and ethical issues that actually matter to people. Euthanasia is one that comes to mind.

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  3. BlairM (2,286 comments) says:

    I’m cynical about the utility of the prayer, since it’s clear most MPs do the opposite of the sentiments of it, but that may be all the more reason to keep it.

    If you’ll forgive my turn of phrase, New Zealand, while not exclusively a “Christian country”, has a “Christian heritage”, and Christianity is the overwhelming majority faith of those who profess one. It hurts nobody to have a daily reminder in Parliament of that heritage, and of the good Christian values by which we should all be governed, even if we do not profess Christian faith. There is no such thing as a vacuum of morality, only good morality and bad morality. The prayer reinforces the good, and should be kept.

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  4. Roflcopter (421 comments) says:

    4. Tell Gareth Hughes to piss off

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  5. Daigotsu (450 comments) says:

    Gareth Hughes missed a god given opportunity to shut the fuck up here.

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  6. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    But would he object to a karakia? Something tells me he would piously and sanctimoniously bow his head.

    I’m in favour of 3. I may be a Christian but the vast majority of New Zealanders are not. It doesn’t comfort me that non-Christian conservatives want to use the religion in the same way as Roman elites – ie a public piety to be free rided upon for ulterior reasons (laudable though the cause of civilisation is).

    I don’t favour 2 because it would continue the hypocrisy of politicians pretending they consider there to be a higher power than themselves.

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  7. Michael (894 comments) says:

    Our Head of State being the head of a Church makes Anglicanism our defacto State Religion. Hence the prayer having an Anglican theme to it. So the prayer is a Republicanism issue, not a matter of religious freedom.

    Wish people would stop having all the proxy discussions on whether NZ should become a Republic, and start a national discussion on it. But because Labour are too scared of offending it’s working class voter base (the ones who buy the Womans Weekly and love the Queen), it doesn’t push the issue.

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  8. adamsmith1922 (888 comments) says:

    If this is what is occupying Gareth Hughes mind, an oxymoron I grant you, then he is clearly under employed. If this is all he can do to generate comment it proves the ridiculousness of electing a clown as An MP

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  9. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    As an atheist, I am fine with the prayer. Keep it, get rid of it, or have a short silence where each person can say their own prayer or play angry birds (with the sound off). But don’t do what Scotland does and have every religious group in the country getting to bring in their own speaker to have a turn. It will end up wasting too much time and energy that are better spent on other things.

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  10. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    I think they lost Winston at “humbly”

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  11. Pete George (22,765 comments) says:

    They should have a silent prayer time – then MPs can do what they want with it.

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  12. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    So the silly little communist ☭Gareth Hughes wants to continue the Marxist process of slowly eroding this Nation’s religious heritage aid and abetted by the usual assorted hodge podge of progressive useful idiots who think they are demonstrating how “enlightened” they are by going along with this.

    Don’t people realize that the purpose behind this is to replace the vacuum created with the new religion of the secular state which of course includes greenism

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  13. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    It’s part of our history and tradition.
    Our parliament system is named after its birthplace Westminster,an Abbey.
    A Christian abbey.

    Should we expunge that from the language too ,to appease all and sundry ,to be all inclusive,to cause no offence ,to create a new utopian reality,carved in the image of the far left who seem so eager to change our culture?

    Cato makes a great point about karakia,these seem to be performed at every room and booth opening sponsored by local and central government,we never hear criticism of that ,the apparent de facto state religion,Indigenism,from these leftist attack dogs.

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  14. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Get rid of the prayer – a pause for reflection is fine. At the moment, the prayer implies that all present acknowledge the christian god which is obviously not the case.

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  15. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    secular country
    no place for formal acknowledgement of any spiritual belief within government
    the maori spiritual beliefs are slowly replacing the Christian
    nether have a place anywhere for formal recognition by the public service
    if you pray to a god go ahead in your own space not in public and not on public funded time

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  16. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    One wonders how Gareth Hughes feels about banning all the Maori blessings, Karakias and Powhiris etc etc
    Because not everyone is into that….

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  17. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    It is not ok to pander to superstition or tell lies about the existence imaginary beings. I am uncomfortable with having followers of violent, divisive and ignorant cults in parliament at all, under any circumstances.

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  18. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    I am a confirmed atheist but the essential message is just as valid now as it ever was. Perhaps rewrite it with an appeal for mercy from and a promise to the people whom they serve.

    Then stone the buggers who piss us off. To make it inclusive.

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  19. James Stephenson (2,015 comments) says:

    Our parliament system is named after its birthplace Westminster,an Abbey.
    A Christian abbey.

    Today is Friday, named for the Norse goddess Freyja. We’ve obviously moved past venerating that deity, why not move past this Christian god?

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  20. symgardiner (11 comments) says:

    History brings a degree of stability to the present. NZ is such a young country. We should be cautious about ‘throwing off’ our history and tradition.

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  21. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    A blast from the past.

    In the secular mind all cultures, religions and traditions are worthy of equal respect and should be given it, all except for one that is, athat one is Christianity which must be knocked, mocked and kept out of the public view as much as possible.

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  22. Alan (1,055 comments) says:

    ‘Our parliament system is named after its birthplace Westminster,an Abbey.
    A Christian abbey.’

    Its actually named after the Palace of Westminster, across the street. The palace was there before the Abbey.

    Chistmas and Easter are both just rebrands of long standing midwinter and spring celebrations. Nothing more.

    If people want to ask whatever flavour of mythical man in the sky or multi armed blue elephant they prefer for guidance thats cool, but not as part of the running of the state.

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  23. david (2,534 comments) says:

    Bollocks. The prayer is only a way of reminding MPs what they are there for and how they should behave.

    Change it to an oath but don’t give Cunnliffe and Peters an opportunity to reflect in silence on how they will rort the system and attempt to make decisions for the benefit of themselves and their parties.

    Any MP who won’t commit every day to the moral principles espoused by the p[rayer deserves to be publicly shamed.

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  24. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    LOL – trust that buffoon Kea to wade in with his usual foolish rantings.

    One could just as easily look at Revolutionary France, the Spanish Republicans, the Mexian Liberals and the Russian Soviets and say, “I am uncomfortable with having followers of violent, divisive and ignorant secularism in parliament at all, under any circumstances.”

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  25. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Our values are fundamentally christian ones, regardless of what our own beliefs might be. Even Gareth Hughes should realise this. My own beliefs I would describe as “a semi-lapsed quasi-agnostic” in that I don’t have a set belief one way or the other, but I do acknowledge my own heritage as being derived from a Judeo-Christian background, and from that I derive my own set of values, being honesty, discipline and decency.

    While our values may be christian, we are at our heart a secular society, but it does no harm to remind us where our values come from.

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  26. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    OH FUCK ME!

    Gareth Hughes thinks that the matter of Chritianity is only a personal matter where the government is concerned ? – what a fucken idiot!

    The first GOVERNMENT ACT that is implied upon a NZ citizen is the time and date, as the doctor says and records it at birth:

    And it ain’t:

    6:27 am March 4th 14,000,000,013.

    but rather —— 6:27 am March 4th 2013!

    Quite clearly, a little bit of Christian Living doesn’t hurt any human soul as GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION INDICATES TO BABIES at birth!

    Christianity has marched alongside mankind for over 2000yrs – and Gareth fucken Huges now wants to question the wisdom of the NZ government’s ADULTS IN PARLIMENT paying respect to Christianity – and in a very small way at that?

    Garreth Hughes is an ignorant bastard! :cool:

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  27. James Stephenson (2,015 comments) says:

    Its actually named after the Palace of Westminster, across the street. The palace was there before the Abbey.

    Yes, but the point is the the “minster” bit is an abbey or monastery church. So Westminster literally means the area west of, or in front of the abbey.

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  28. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    I can certainly appreciate agnostics or atheists appreciating the hard work religion did in sustaining us through the collapse of the Roman Empire and in building our great civilisation including, for example, spearheading the world’s first true abolitionist movement. You’re welcome.

    But as a religion Christianity is not genuinely adhered to by the masses or a significant chunk of the elites. It just won’t have enduring, positive effects if too many people are free-riders.

    Do you know what it put me in mind of? The ChristChurch Cathedral. True, the mooted replacements were ghastly displays of debased architecture but so what? It belongs to the Anglican Church and they want something that reflects their faith – which is not robust, confident Neo-Gothicism but therapuetic and New Age. Not to my artistic or theological tastes, of course, but who am I to say? And who were the other outraged people who would never normally darken the door of an Anglican church?

    It’s a bit like Plastic-Paddyism – at some point, it just becomes quite sad.

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  29. Paulus (2,494 comments) says:

    Have you ever been in the Muslim country Malaysia in KL before Christmas.
    They love the whole scenario and the shops do a boomer.
    Flowers and bunting are everywhere.
    It is lovely BUT it is based upon a Christian faith celebration.

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  30. WineOh (547 comments) says:

    Actually we’re not a Christian country, we are a Secular country. Regular church attendance is around 15% of the population, and if you assume that a significant portion of the Pacifica community would be included in that it means other ethnicities would be well below this percentage.

    Harriet, recording the time & date does not prove that NZ law is enshrined with Christianity.

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  31. tas (591 comments) says:

    They should either preserve the status quo or abolish it all together. Trying to rework it is bound to cause completely unnecessary trouble and any middle-ground solution will just offend everyone.

    I honestly don’t care. It’s a legacy that does no harm.

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  32. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    “…..Harriet, recording the time & date does not prove that NZ law is enshrined with Christianity….”

    Yes it fucken does.

    Any lawyer will tell you that legal stuff has to be dated – and quess what the date is based upon!

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  33. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘Our values are fundamentally christian ones’

    Actually our values are based on the ‘golden rule’ rather than being Christian.

    If we were ‘Christian’ we would still have slavery, stoning, genocide, capital punishment etc all things that feature predominantly in the Bible.

    At best we have a watered down, sanitised version of Christianity but to say our values are fundamentally ‘Christian’ is to apply a very selective view as to what ‘Christianity’ is.

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  34. Reid (15,917 comments) says:

    There are three major options as I see it:

    1 The status quo of a Christian prayer
    2 Change the prayer so it isn’t exclusively Christian, but a general spiritual prayer
    3 Have no prayer at all

    With respect, to a Christian option 2 isn’t an option, firstly since we are told if we pray at all then we must pray in the name of Christ since to a Christian, Christ is our saviour and Lord and if it wasn’t for Him then we would not be Christ-ian. Secondly if you change it to a “general spiritual prayer” then that is considered spiritism which is not the same as but to use an analogy non-Christians would understand, equivalent to idolatory – worshipping a man-made object as a god. This risks bringing God’s curse down on Parliament and the nation so if you want to change it it’s better not to do it all.

    It’s interesting that people are hell-bent on eliminating things connected with the “white man’s” history yet in the same breath they seem to consider it appropriate to emphasize historical roots from all other cultures. Personally I’m not ashamed of my culture and I myself don’t consider I need to apologise for it nor eliminate its traditions and roots in some sort of grovelling appeasement. Sure there are things committed in the context of the mores of the time they were done by people who are now dead which need to be looked at and sadly, most of us still haven’t done that. For example the slave trading and opium trading were done by some of the most powerful names in the world of finance today, and very few know who they were, do they. And none of the descendents of those families have yet offered to redress those horrendous crimes committed by their particular ancestors, have they. And that’s who needs to apologise.

    But why should my entire race be held collectively responsible for historical crimes committed by a few? But these days, that’s what’s been happening, and this is but another example of that same general trend.

    It’s not much of a heritage to pass onto your children and grandchildren, is it. I wonder what history is going to say about this general social movement between 1960-present in a hundred years time? Perhaps by then the “history” read by your great great grandchildren won’t be that of His story, it will be some strange concoction of “newspeak” carefully crafted to mold people into becoming model citizens of the brave new world that by then has been in place for quite some decades. Perhaps one or two astute souls will learn the truth from the underground network and wonder why, when it was all taking place back in the early 21st century, the people alive at that time didn’t even notice what was being done to them, indeed, they seemed quite happy to just hand over their priceless heritage without even a fight.

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  35. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    @Harriet – do some research as to how our date system came about before writing your abusive crap.

    Here I’ll help you, start here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anno_Domini

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  36. doggone7 (679 comments) says:

    I like the prayer but probably not for the usual reasons. It sets a scene from the outset that puts a perspective on the level of hypocrisy which follows it. Any calm reading of “laying aside all private and personal interests” says it, but so does the rest.

    Another good thing is that even discussing the prayer shows that those at the real end of the whole process which starts with the prayer, us, often are nasty and intolerant. Check the vindictiveness and vile comments directed at people in here. I especially like it when the seemingly religious or Christian people show a true mean streak while proclaiming the importance of a prayer to begin our parliamentary day. Maybe the modus operandi there reflects the way they live their own lives.

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  37. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    If you are a school child today, it means “Common Era” for classroom purposes – being the approved replacement for Anno Domini. It’ll never catch on – but so what? That doesn’t make us a Christian country anymore than observing Thor’s Day on the fourth day of the week makes us a pagan country.

    So MPs won’t hypocritcally and insincerely mouth a prayer to a God they don’t believe in? If you believe in God, do you think that will really annoy him?

    It’s unrealistic for Christians to expect our quasi-official status to continue. I think we should refocus our efforts on building walls against persecution instead – guarantees that the state will give us the respect it accords other religious, ethnic and sexual minorities against the ministrations of dumbos like Kea. That’s still achievable and not something we can take for granted.

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  38. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    Cato#

    Seriously, do you think the progressives will change our calender so that people ‘arn’t offended’?

    To me it seems silly if they don’t when they change everything else. Thanks.

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  39. doggone7 (679 comments) says:

    YesWeDid

    Now we have watered down, sanitised versions of stoning, genocide, capital punishment etc. It’s called ‘blog sites!’

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  40. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    YesWeDid – fail.

    What led to the abolition of the theretofore universally accepted condition of slavery?

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  41. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    again a person trys to give Christianity the position as the source of all morals
    unfortunately the majority of the world is not Christian and society pre dates Christianity by at least 6000 years
    our system owes more to the Greeks Romans and the period since secular thought bcame to dominate over romes church with the reformation and the redescovery of rational thought in the 1600 onwards
    The church held us back and deliberately hid the concepts of democracy developed before its rise to power
    we live under a system of governance called democracy that the church suppressed for 1500 years by its destruction of the ability for commoner to access the learnings of the Greeks

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  42. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    YesWeDid, that’s a very bad case of massive projection you have there. You seem unaware that secular societies specialize in slavery and persecution, ask any East European or other denizen of the former secular states that had nominally communist rulers.

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  43. RRM (9,428 comments) says:

    Schmeh;

    This atheist doesn’t give a fuck. It’s an old arcane tradition like not shovelling with your fork or singing Zadok the Priest at the Coronation. It’s just something we do. It does negligible harm. Who cares?

    (Answer: The kind of people who get a Phud in Political science…)

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  44. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    unfortunately the majority of the world is not Christian

    Lol Griff, you got something right for once – imagine if we did live in a Christian world, it would be a far more congenial place

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  45. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘What led to the abolition of the theretofore universally accepted condition of slavery?’

    Let me guess; Christianity?

    I thought it was the 13th amendment to the constitution, in which case the answer would be ‘democracy’.

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  46. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    “…..@Harriet – do some research as to how our date system came about before writing your abusive crap…..”

    My point is this:

    What’s the big deal about MP’s paying respect to Christianity and Jesus Christ – when the date is based upon him?

    If Atheist MP’s go to a Christian funeral, all they do is stand motionless in respect like everyone else does when prayers are said. At funerals and at parliment[as far as I know] they don’t have to actually SAY the Prayer.

    I just don’t get where Huges is coming from…..to me he seems very ignorant with regards to the history of Christianity’s input upon civislisation. We are talking about 2000 yrs worth……what other institution has done anything for 2000yrs – I can’t think of any.

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  47. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    YesWeDid.

    Yeah, the 13th amendment – which apparently abolished slavery everywhere in the world without regard to temporal restrictions – conjured itself into existence.

    Read a book.

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  48. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    Very thoughtful post Reid.

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  49. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    Read a Book

    Yes. One with the name Wilberforce in it.

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  50. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘YesWeDid, that’s a very bad case of massive projection you have there. You seem unaware that secular societies specialize in slavery and persecution, ask any East European or other denizen of the former secular states that had nominally communist rulers.’

    I never said that slavery or persecution was exclusively the domain of Christians.

    Secular or religious us humans are adapt at persecution and subjection of our fellow humans.

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  51. OneTrack (2,579 comments) says:

    I am against any change because I think I know what it would be changed to. And as much as I have a low opinion of most MPs, I don’t wish a karakia on them each morning to start the day. That would really put them in a positive mood. Because that is what would happen, and as has been suggested above, Gareth Hughes and his fellow travellers would be all in favour.

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  52. wf (371 comments) says:

    Perhaps it would be useful to have a declaration to be read by the Speaker stating the purpose of the assembly – the maintenance of peace, justice and public welfare – each day.

    A statement of why they are there which is what the present prayer doesn’t do – it asks for advice, and guidance but has no definite statement of intent.

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  53. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    YesWeDid

    That belated and weak admission kind of makes a nonesense of your previous assertion that if we were a Christian country, we would still have “would still have slavery, stoning, genocide, capital punishment etc all things that feature predominantly in the Bible.”

    But it’s welcome, because it’s certainly true. I’d put la Terreur up against anything Christians have ever done. Same goes for the “Terrible Triangle” of pre-WW2 Mexico, R. Spain and Russia and the post-WW2 communist world.

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  54. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Leave the prayer alone! It’s a cultural symbol.

    What a strange world, where Vladimir Putin stands up for Christianity, and the Left erodes it within NZ.

    If NZ dares try to interfere with the clampdown on Greenwar by Putin (and Hughes is a Melon Green), I hope the Russians know many – perhaps most- New Zealanders support his position.

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  55. DylanReeve (179 comments) says:

    The following suggestion was offered by a commenter called Kimbo on Brian Edwards’ recent blog post on this issue:

    Suggestion:

    The Speaker intones: “I call upon all members to consider, in a moment of silence, as we commence proceedings for the day, the importance of the proceedings of this Parliament for our fair land.

    May we conduct the business for the service, commonweal, and uplifting of our nation. Let us determine to steadfastly persevere with charity and wisdom so that our nation may abide in harmony, and be a source of goodness and peace for the world about us”.

    Or something to that effect. No deities invoked, but the possibility that members may avail themselves of the moment to reflect before exercising their power and responsibility…or maybe not.

    Kimbo – at Brian Edwards Media

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  56. voltaire (43 comments) says:

    The Prayer should remain unaltered, NZ from circa 1840 onwards (no need to dwell on what went on prior) is based on Judeo Christian foundations and the ethics that stem from those foundations.

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  57. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Yes we did at 9.23 attributes the end of slavery to the “the 13th amendment to the constitution”, and means the US constitution. That was 1865. Britain banned the slave trade in 1807 and the Royal Navy was trying to supress it from 1808. Slavery continued in Brazil until late in the 19th century.

    Christianity played a leading part in the suppression of slavery in the West.

    Secular people like the Greens are more interested in indigenous snails and whales than in the present international slave trades. There are slaves in the Middle East. Indian manufacturing uses millions of slave children. Pakistani boys as young as four and five are enslaved and trafficked to the Gulf to be camel-racing jockeys. Sex slaves are trafficked in the hundreds of thousands round the world for the prostitution industry, including to New Zealand.

    The archaic NZ fishing industry (compare it with Iceland’s) has slave conditions on many of its ships, as is acknowledged internationally.

    If NZ was a Christian country, we would clean up our slave ships and stop trafficking of foreign sex slaves by our legalised prostitution industry.

    When it comes to humans, the Greens have no sense of morality.

    Their opinion on prayer in Parliament is worthless.

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  58. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Jack5 – don’t think that you can fool YesWeDid – he’s read the Da Vinci Code so he knows what really happened.

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  59. ciaron (1,314 comments) says:

    Secular or religious us humans are adapt at persecution and subjection of our fellow humans.
    QFP

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  60. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    An extreme leftist progressive (read communist) want’s to change an important part of our parliamentary proceedings, a culturally symbolic procedure tying us to our Christian origins?

    So what’s new? They’re always doing that stuff.

    Y’know what I do with extreme left commie progs like Gareth Hughes?

    I tell them to fuck off to Cuba and take their prog ideas with them.

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  61. bringbackdemocracy (392 comments) says:

    Bill English said “the parliamentary prayer is the only time in parliament when MPs don’t think about themselves”

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  62. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    Yes, you tell them, Redbaiter, you tell them good.

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  63. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    “….I’d put la Terreur up against anything Christians have ever done. Same goes for the “Terrible Triangle” of pre-WW2 Mexico, R. Spain and Russia and the post-WW2 communist world….”

    Yes, very good of you to point that out Cato. Christianity has been with us for 2000yrs, while other things, which always eventually includes the sword, comes and goes.

    And your previously stated ‘building walls’ comment is very inspiring also. Thanks. You are very good at what you do, very learned and thoughtful. btw, I did take on board your comment months back about approaching things with a bit more grace….I’ll make more of an effort.Cheers.

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  64. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    @Redbaitier – given that the last census had close to 50% of the population identifying as non-Christian and when the latest census info comes out it seems likely that over 50% of the population will be non-Christian then should those 2 million people all ‘fuck off to Cuba’?

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  65. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Any amount of time our parliamentarians spend on this is time not spent focusing on economic growth, jobs, health, education and law & order.

    I would prefer they spend their resources on the things that matter. Debating the retention or amendment of the daily prayer is not that.

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  66. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    James Stephens @837 thank you for pointing out “minster” to Alan .

    As to the days of the week and their pagan Norse origins ,I enjoy that fact.It’s all part of our rich diverse western culture,which has been spread around the world by our forefathers,brave pioneering sailors,traders ,soldiers,settlers and yes missionaries.

    They have brought peace,civilisation,wealth and democracy to the far flung corners of the world.Christianity (and it’s western precursors) are all part of that.

    I say fuck the Greens (and any fellow travellers) with their attempts to reinvent the world in their extreme left image.

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  67. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Yes we Did.

    There is a marked difference between Old Testament Christianity, (the stone adulterers, pro slavery, misogynist Christianity), and the New Testament Christianity.

    While I am not a theologian, and only really attend church for Hatchings, Matchings and Dispatchings, and religion has no great role in my life, I do see a value in what it can teach us, as long as I get to pick and choose, and discard the plainly ridiculous.

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  68. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “should those 2 million people all ‘fuck off to Cuba’?”

    Are those two million people actually communists like Gareth Hughes themselves or are they just being manipulated by communists like Gareth Hughes who want to bit by bit by bit destroy every link to a social heritage and culture that valued individual freedom above all else?

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  69. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Yeswedid posted at 10.16:

    ..close to 50% of the population identifying as non-Christian …

    That doesn’t mean those people oppose prayer in Parliament. There are also traditional and cultural reasons for supporting the Parliamentary prayer.

    It’s like the secularists who queue to get their kids into Christian schools, for the values they instill. Some of these parents feign Christianity to get their kids in.

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  70. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    As I’ve said before, if people want to talk to their invisible friend they should do it in a way that doesn’t coerce others to be involved in the conversation.

    The Parliamentary prayer is an anachronism and an arrogant and offensive intrusion into other people’s beliefs.

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  71. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    @Harriett,

    It was at the time of the SSM battle – a heated time when tempers flared on both sides but, in perspective, it was always going to be a loser for traditionalists. The cultural tides are just too strong at the moment. That doesn’t mean you should go along with just to “be on the right side of history” of course.

    More recently, some articles by Rod Dreher really affected my thinking on God and Ceasar. They are worth a read:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sex-after-christianity/
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/benedict-option-bleg/

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  72. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “The Parliamentary prayer is an anachronism and an arrogant and offensive intrusion into other people’s beliefs. ”

    I am not religious and I don’t understand why people get so het up about it. I don’t agree its arrogant and offensive. I don’t see any problem with it at all, except that the prayer is basically a commitment to Christian virtues and given the cynical self serving rabble that inhabit parliament today would seem a bit out of place in that context. But apart from that I don’t see anything big deal.

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  73. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (785 comments) says:

    Greens can change it when they are in government in 2014.

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  74. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    Actually it is a direct plea to the invisible friend to control the activities of Parliament. It carries with it the strong implication that all right-thinking MPs believe in this invisible friend and not just any invisible friend but one particular one. The message is that dissenters are outsiders whose beliefs are second class.

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  75. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    Thanks very much for those links Cato. I was going to ask for some but hesitated. Thanks again.

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  76. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    Many traditions are carry overs from our pagan and then Christian history.

    Take the navy . In bygone days pagans kept an idol on board for protection.Then with Christianity it was changed to a cross or crucifix ,when you came on board you saluted.With the reformation I think the RN ditched the crucifix but one still saluted the Quarterdeck or some such ,funnily enough the USN follows the same tradition.

    Any old salts out there please feel free to correct me.

    Whatever ,tradition is important and should be maintained.

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  77. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson posted at

    It carries with it the strong implication that all right-thinking MPs believe in this invisible friend and not just any invisible friend but one particular one.

    I dispute that, Alan. Just as I can be happy calling the fifth day of the week, Friday, it doesn’t mean I believe there is an existing supernatural Norse spiritual entity called Frigg and that I am a follower of her. Or because I shake hands, it doesn’t mean this is to safeguard me from your knife or sword arm.

    If you aren’t a Christian, you can think of the prayer as a simple acknowledgement of a rich cultural and moral tradition, or even an acknowledgement that you subscribe, however, broadly, to the values of the Christian religion.

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  78. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “The message is that dissenters are outsiders whose beliefs are second class.”

    This is rank over reaction that suggests some psychotic influence. There is nothing wrong with a parliament committing to the Christian virtues. That is all it means.

    If only they kept that commitment.

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  79. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @Jack & RB, obviously you can think anything you like. However, the prayer is what it is and pretending it is something else might satisfy some but not most. Starting every day with a big lie is not a good recipe for integrity.

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  80. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Sorry, meant to include this one: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20121219-rod-dreher-religious-liberties-and-gay-marriage.ece?nclick_check=1

    Look – the tide is receding for Christianity, for now. Things will continue to get bad – not as bad as they were in Mexico in 1917 – but by contemporary standards it will be pretty rough. I agree with Dreher that the focus for orthodox Christians should be how to carve out a refuge – not to fight over (relatively) petty matters like whether MPs in Parliament mumble a prayer most of them don’t really mean.

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  81. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    marxism allows homosexuality but will stop public worship

    Watch society suffer from the ever decreasing lack of morality and discipline

    This all leads to anarchy

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  82. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Jack5
    If you think of it as a simple acknowledgement of a cultural tradition, you will have no problem with it alternating with a karakia.
    kowtow
    I think the quarterdeck thing is more to do with saluting, or otherwise acknowledging, the flag.

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  83. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “Starting every day with a big lie is not a good recipe for integrity.”

    Sorry Alan. What is the lie?

    Just saying again, I’m not religious, I’m just seeking the rationale here.

    A lie is when someone presents something they know is untrue as a truth right?

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  84. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “Look – the tide is receding for Christianity, for now.”

    Can’t agree with that. That is what the anti-Christians would like the general public to believe but I think the reality is that things are turning in the favour of Christians.

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  85. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    The message is that dissenters are outsiders whose beliefs are second class.

    No – whether you like it or not your heritage is Christian! You can’t can’t change that.

    This Nation, as we have received it, was built by Christians, people formed in Christianity for generations. The majority protestant and in particular Anglicans, with a significant Catholic minority. I’d prefer an Orthodox past but the real meaning of secular is that as an Orthodox I’m not disadvantaged in a Protestant culture and nor is someone who dissents from all religion (more fool them I’d say)

    Our culture and language is steeped in Christianity, the English we speak, much of it was formed in the King James Bible.

    Some very sinister people want to airbrush our heritage away to replace the culture that is our birthright with a new one, without a past in order to usher in their vision of nirvana but if they succeed they will just enslave us.

    Alas many have been fooled – Pol Pot used terror and force to try and build his brave new world but the use of terror was actually pioneered during “the age of reason” to recreate mankind in the image of the revolutionaries.

    We are having it done to us by stealth

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  86. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “If you think of it as a simple acknowledgement of a cultural tradition, you will have no problem with it alternating with a karakia.”

    British law and civilization the moral equivalent of stone age cannabilism?

    Yeah sure.

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  87. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    “Can’t agree with that.”

    Well, I’ll tell you what. From a practicisng Christian to a non-Christian, Redbaiter, you don’t have to agree with it – but those of us in actually the trenches can see the reality for what it is.

    The tide against Christianity in the broader culture started a long time ago, even if its effects are only becoming truly visible now.

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  88. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @Andrei, irrelevant. The past is another country. It helps to understand how we got here but we have to deal with the here and now, new knowledge, new technologies and many new cultures.

    Values are distinct from metaphysical beliefs and religious sects. I would have no problem with a declaration of shared values. There is a problem with a declaration of divisive metaphysical beliefs – whether professed or real.

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  89. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “those of us in actually the trenches can see the reality for what it is”

    Well I read a lot on social and political issues, and I read on a global basis, not just NZ, and my feeling is that there is a lot of atheist propaganda afoot but they are now much more on the defensive than they have been for sometime.

    I think there is a growing mood to resist the progressives’ attempts to break from our cultural heritage, and that mood has the momentum to drive the progs back.

    I will concede it might not look that way in NZ right now but NZ only follows on from Europe and the US eventually, so it will happen here.

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  90. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @RB: “A lie is when someone presents something they know is untrue as a truth right?”

    Exhibit A: “Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things”

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  91. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    From your mouth to God’s ear. I agree that the tide is turning against atheism too – but that doesn’t imply a comeback for Christianity.

    The clue is in DPF’s preference for some “general spiritual prayer” and in the self-evident fact that the Greens would not object to a karakia – not because they subscribe to the content but because it makes them feel vaguely spiritual in a politically acceptable way.

    What we’re getting is what’s called Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – which is basically a religion that is mostly about self-esteem and which really involves no ‘hard’ teachings.

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  92. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    Praying for guidance is rather hypocritical when that guidance is systematically rejected.

    corrupt (v.)
    mid-14c., “contaminate, impair the purity of,” from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere (see corrupt (adj.)). Late 14c. as “pervert the meaning of,” also “putrefy.” Related: Corrupted; corrupting.
    http://etymonline.com/?term=corrupt

    pervert (v.)
    c.1300 (transitive), “to turn someone aside from a right religious belief to a false or erroneous one,” from Old French pervertir “pervert, undo, destroy” (12c.) and directly from Latin pervertere “overthrow, overturn,” figuratively “to corrupt, subvert, abuse,” literally “turn the wrong way, turn about,” from per- “away” (see per) + vertere “to turn” (see versus).
    http://etymonline.com/?term=pervert

    “The whole of the common law is judge made.”
    http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/lac-chapter-3

    Alfred … established a code of laws that later became the basis of English Common Law.
    http://www.heritage-history.com/www/heritage.php?Dir=characters&FileName=alfred.php

    The Doom Book, Code of Alfred or Legal Code of Aelfred the Great was the code of laws (“dooms”, laws or judgments) compiled by Alfred the Great (c. 893 AD) from three prior Saxon codes, to which he prefixed the Ten Commandments of Moses and incorporated rules of life from the Mosaic Code and the Christian code of ethics.
    http://stefangillies.wordpress.com/alfred-the-great-legal-code/

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  93. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    We need a better prayer to a better god.

    O Odin, ruler of Asgard
    Tearer of souls; smiter of the unrighteous
    Let us be revenged upon our enemies
    Let us crush them and pluck out their eyeballs
    stamp on their goolies and cut off their fingers
    Let their deeds be wiped from the pages of history
    and their loved ones sold into slavery.

    So say we all! [ROAR]

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  94. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson says “The past is another country”.

    If that is the case,which it isn’t in the sense AW means it,then that other country is England or correctly Great Britain and Ireland.

    Otherwise this post would be in French or Russian or Japanese.

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  95. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @kowtow, most immigrants came here for a better life and to escape the economic, political or religious oppression of their birth countries. For that reason NZ has no state religion unlike those you name.

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  96. ciaron (1,314 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson (1,743) Says:

    October 4th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    1)… most immigrants came here for a better life and to escape the economic, political or religious oppression of their birth countries.

    2)For that reason NZ has no state religion unlike those you name.

    Is it your argument that:NZ has no state religion because immigrants come here to escape theirs?
    There must be a missing premise to this argument.

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  97. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Anglicanism is the closest we have come to a state religion in New Zealand, but even that has only ever been a partial part of the ruling elite here. I don’t think anyone has ever seriously proposed that NZ should have an ‘established’ church as in Britain.

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  98. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @ciaron, yes. There is no missing premise.

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  99. ciaron (1,314 comments) says:

    Ok, what evidence can you provide to support that: 2), because 1)?

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  100. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    I would say the spiritual aspects of Tikanga Māori are the closest thing we have to a state religion today. Whe an important highway project has to be halted because of the concerns of a tanewha, and when karakia are mandatory at nearly all state events, that belief system enjoys a privileged status – albeit one favoured by progressives who – in fairness – have never been about logical consistency.

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  101. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    cato raises a very important issue.

    The Resource Management Act appears to contain references to maori spirituality!So loke the Treaty being subtly included in legislation so is maori religion.

    “However, there has been increasing recognition of Māori spirituality in political discourse and even in certain government legislation. In July 2001 MP Rodney Hide alerted parliament to a state funded hikitapu (tapu-lifting) ceremony at the opening of the foreign embassy in Bangkok. It was revealed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had a standard policy of employing Māori ritual experts for the opening of official offices around the world.[50] The Resource Management Act 1991 recognises the role of Māori spiritual beliefs in planning and environmental management.[50] In 2002 local Māori expressed concerns that the development of the Auckland-Waikato expressway would disturb the taniwha, or guardian spirit, of the Waikato River, leading to delays and alterations to the project.[51]”
    From wikipedia

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  102. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @ciaron: http://www.massey.ac.nz/~plineham/pubs/ch2.doc

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  103. Redbaiter (7,533 comments) says:

    “I would say the spiritual aspects of Tikanga Māori are the closest thing we have to a state religion today.”

    A brilliant point Cato.

    And as usual, not a problem for the progs.

    When did we ever see Garth Hughes complaining about that?

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  104. muggins (2,983 comments) says:

    If some MP’s feel the need to say a prayer then let them say a prayer. For those that don’t feel the need to say a prayer then they don’t have to say one. If I was an MP I just wouldn’t join in.
    Are MP’s expected to stand when the prayer is said? I wouldn’t stand.

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  105. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Well in that case it’s a simple bargain – let’s agree to scrub from the public square all references to the Christian God and, at the same time, scrub all references and practices related to the supernatural aspects of Māori tradition.

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  106. OneTrack (2,579 comments) says:

    “Y’know what I do with extreme left commie progs like Gareth Hughes?

    I tell them to fuck off to Cuba and take their prog ideas with them.”

    But, for some reason, they never do. They, strangely, live on in this hellhole of evil capitalism where some people have more money than others and the state doesn’t own everything. Oh, the horror.

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  107. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    I’m always a bit uncomfortable about the spiritual element at Maori ceremonies. I try to be respectful, but I don’t believe in any variety of magic spells.

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  108. muggins (2,983 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6563096/Wanganui-District-Council-abolishes-prayer

    The Wanganui District Council has abolished prayers before meetings.

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  109. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Isn’t it fair enough that believers in less-fashionable religions be extended the same courtesy (i.e. trying to be respectful)?

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  110. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    Cato ,no it’s not a simple bargain to scrub all. I view the introduction of maori spiritualityas a senseless innovation that should be resisted.

    keep the colonial traditions though,we all share that history.

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  111. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Cato
    Respectful towards all traditions is a goal. The time to abolish the parliamentary prayer will come eventually by consensus among MPs; that consensus would also have to include what, if anything, should replace it. Our system of goverment does gradual change quite well.

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  112. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    I understand that at one stage ACT considered challenging the parliamentary prayer; but decided to let that particular sleeping dog lie.

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  113. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    I wish you would tell that to some of the anti-theist buffoons around here.

    Speaking as an [o]rthodox Catholic myself, I’m not against that change happening tomorrow. I don’t think there’s any virtue in holding on to civic tradition, for tradition’s sake, when the underlying rationale has been so thoroughly repudiated. For the same reason, I’ve come around to the idea of sacramental marriage being legally divorced (so to speak) from the concept of civil marriage.

    But what rankles is the naked hypocrisy of it all. The fact that progressives are animated by an animus against Christianity is demonstrated by their startling inconsistency. These are the same useful idiots, by the way, who lionised one Ahmed Zaoui – an out and out Islamist, for Christopher’s sake.

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  114. adamsmith1922 (888 comments) says:

    Earlier Kea stated:-
    Kea (8,208) Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 8:14 am

    It is not ok to pander to superstition or tell lies about the existence imaginary beings. I am uncomfortable with having followers of violent, divisive and ignorant cults in parliament at all, under any circumstances.
    _______________________________________

    On that basis I assume that the Greens should be banned, along NZ First as both are divisive, ignorant cults

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  115. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkison posted at 11.45:

    .. Starting every day with a big lie is not a good recipe for integrity…

    Non-believers can take it as something between a salutation and a pleasantry, rather than as a lie. When we say to someone “gidday” or “goodday” how rarely do we actually mean, “Now you have a really good and pleasant day”. There’s no commitment to “gidday”, and no lie in saying it.

    I’m also having difficulty accepting Alan Wilkinson’s 12.03 post:

    The past is another country. It helps to understand how we got here but we have to deal with the here and now, new knowledge, new technologies and many new cultures.

    We cannot get out of the envelope of the past that is our language, most of our legal and political systems,much of our culture, tastes and habits. We use old intellectual tools of mathematics, of logic and philosophy, and so on to evolve the new.

    Milkenmild posted at 11.49:

    …If you think of it as a simple acknowledgement of a cultural tradition, you will have no problem with it alternating with a karakia.

    Milkenmild, if you are going to do it on proportional basis, to match the electoral system, fewer than 200,000 New Zealanders can have even a little conversation in Maori, in population of 4,485,500. These Maori speakers also speak English, so under an MRP interpretation – generous, because they speak far more English than Maori — we would have to say they would enjoy English and Maori on alternate days, so 100,000 as a proportion of 4,485,500 means the karakia would be on every forty-fifth start to the day in Parliament.

    If you were to have it on a straight sharing proposal, you would have to have English one day, a karakia the next, and a prayer in sign language the next.

    Too complicated. Just keep the prayer in English, or say it in Maori once a month.

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  116. ciaron (1,314 comments) says:

    @Alan, will I need to read all 29 pages, or is there a specific section you’re resting on?

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  117. david (2,534 comments) says:

    Someone needs to ask Gareth Hughes if he has a problem in committing to acting in the best interests of New Zealand and New Zealanders and to make decisions impartially and without thought of private or party gain. Or is it just that he has insufficient belief in a God that there will be no retribution if he breaches the undertaking made on his behalf by the Speaker.

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  118. Ryan Sproull (7,027 comments) says:

    My preference is a statement of reflection without referencing any particular religion and without trying to reference all of them.

    But it is pretty incredibly low on my list of things to worry about.

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  119. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    To me as a hard atheist having any superstition involved in governance is as offensive as making Catholics sit in on a black mass.
    Far better to structure a secular thanks or oath of fidelity. Those so disposed can entreat silently to whatever deities they hold appropriate.

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  120. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Griff at 2.23:

    To me as a hard atheist having any superstition involved in governance is as offensive as making Catholics sit in on a black mass.

    Griff, how much far would you go in demanding your religious rights as an atheist? Ban Christmas and Easter?

    Atheism sometimes seems like another religion. Atheists seem to spend more time thinking about religion than does the average Christian or the average person-in-the-street Buddhist or Shintoist etc.

    In my experience, compared with atheists, agnostics tend to be less dogmatic, less argumentative, and less hostile to religion. To me, agnosticism seems the civilised, rational choice for non-believers. Given humankind’s limited intelligence and the scale, age and complexity of the universe, can we ever really know there definitely isn’t some sort of supernatural force underpinning it all? Just be a laid-back agnostic and enjoy life.

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  121. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    I specified hard atheist .

    Google the term.

    Superstition has no place in any process involved in the laws I live under.

    Holidays are just that holidays. I would prefer they were not held as sacrosanct when it comes to my choices of diversion.

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  122. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Griff
    Would you consider pastafarianism as a halfway option? His Noodleness is open to allcomers…

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  123. kowtow (7,586 comments) says:

    Gareth says “i am not a Christian” but he doesn’t tell us what he is. I think its relevant.

    Not one Green swore on oath when they entered parliament ,every one of them affirmed.That can’t be a coincidence >was it party policy.Surely one of them’ s a christian ?

    Anyone out there in pollie land know?

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  124. mikenmild (10,622 comments) says:

    Exploring the spiritual beliefs of Green politicians could get quite entertaining.

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  125. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    Ryan#

    “…..My preference is a statement of reflection without referencing any particular religion and without trying to reference all of them…..’

    What’s the point? – you’re shrinking the Bible – and getting the Religious to praise false Gods amongst that.

    Whenever I listen to people who so scorn or question me when I mention I’m going to church, or saying a prayer, I get the feeling it’s because they really see themselves as gods.

    Well do you? I’m joking with you Ryan……I know you now better than that……upon reflection.

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  126. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    Parody can still be taken as gospel MM. Far more just to remove all formal reference to superstition.
    Because we always did…. is not a reasoned argument.

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  127. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Well, supposedly there was at least one former Green MP was a Rastafarian. He was as white as a sheet though – which is kind of weird given the views of Rastafarianism and race. I would probably question his committment to the laws of Ancient Ethiopia.

    Still, I guess he could have been in it for the weed.

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  128. Harriet (4,501 comments) says:

    “……Griff, how much far would you go in demanding your religious rights as an atheist? Ban Christmas and Easter?…’

    …….. what do you think about the year 2013 Griff?

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  129. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @ciaron, you can skim it. Essentially much of GB was in revolt and forcing reform of the state sponsorship of the Anglican Church at the time and because of the large numbers of Presbyterians as well as Catholics in the colony there was no wish to force a particular state religion on the colonies of NZ and Australia. The Australian constitution is explicitly secular.

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  130. mandk (818 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson: “The Parliamentary prayer is an anachronism and an arrogant and offensive intrusion into other people’s beliefs.”

    This is clearly not true, judging by the number of atheists and non-religious people on this thread who think retaining the prayer is a good idea, or at least inoffensive.

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  131. Alan Wilkinson (1,815 comments) says:

    @Jack: you are seriously trying to tell us that “Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things” can be taken as “Gidday mate” from the Speaker?

    Tosh. The English language wasn’t given to us to be treated as entirely devoid of meaning.

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  132. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Griff (2.53 post), seeking clarification of your term, “hard atheist”, I find there are also: strong, positive, explicit and critical atheists.

    Sects, just as in other religions.

    I think you will find environmentalism is another religion,too.

    Meanwhile, perhaps the Greens will go along with a Parliamentary prayer if it’s amended to include a line such as “Thy oil spill shall not be done”.

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  133. Don the Kiwi (1,586 comments) says:

    Alan.

    It was the Catholic bishop, Pompallier, who spoke out about, and prevented Anglicanism being pronounced as the state religion at the Treaty of Waitangi.
    He believed – as the Catholic Church does -that government and religion are separate, and should stay so. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God,s”, and he promoted freedom of religion.

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  134. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    Alan at 2.30:

    For an unbeliever or a doubter, the Speaker’s prayer can certainly be accepted as a ceremonial salutation. Why not? The MPs don’t have to mumble it out themselves, do they?

    Do you also object to “God Defend New Zealand” in the national anthem. Many unbelievers, doubters, and skeptics will just regard this as a national theme without considering the relevance of he words.

    I agree:

    The English language wasn’t given to us to be treated as entirely devoid of meaning.

    But there are some phrases etc that are mere salutations, signals, with virtually no meaning. Usually, only clots answer with long diatribes about their health when someone says to them, “How are you?”

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  135. TheContrarian (1,073 comments) says:

    “In my experience, compared with atheists, agnostics tend to be less dogmatic, less argumentative, and less hostile to religion. To me, agnosticism seems the civilised, rational choice for non-believers”

    I’d wager that most atheists know they can’t know for certain there isn’t “a” god, just that none of the gods espoused by man exist. It is impossible to definitively state there is no higher consciousness or that our universe was created in a lab on a higher plane (for example) and we could in know way prove it either way however when you start applying specific attributes to god/s then you can investigate whether it is a possibility. In such a case the Christian god, again – for example, cannot logically exist as described.

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  136. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    Actually hard atheist translates as no longer being forced to give credence to the silly belief of a bunch of raving loony’s aka Personal freedom.
    Why should I be forced to bow to anyone’s imaginary friend?. Having a prayer formally recognized by the body trusted with governance is an affront to reason.

    A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion – any religion – is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have both. [Robert A. Heinlein, from "Friday"]

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  137. Jack5 (4,569 comments) says:

    I’m off. If there’s one thing worse than being bailed up by Scientologists or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s being amid atheists in full cry.

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  138. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Griff, do you propose secularism or state atheism?

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  139. Ryan Sproull (7,027 comments) says:

    What’s the point? – you’re shrinking the Bible – and getting the Religious to praise false Gods amongst that.

    That’s why I said it should be a non-religious statement of reflection – making it some kind of vague all-embracing statement about “higher power or powers however you define them” is just as against many people’s religion as making it Christian is.

    There are evangelical Christians who believe that any kind of spiritual activity that is not specifically and explicitly directed at Jesus is Satanic. Trying to make a prayer “fit all sizes” doesn’t work.

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  140. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism

    Secularism is the principle of separation of government institutions, and the persons mandated to represent the State, from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief.

    As I have stated religious beliefs have absolutely no part to play in the governance of this secular country.
    Change has come about because people like me are forcing the religious to stop enforcing their silly beliefs on all. Freedom is taken not given. Sunday trading religious holidays etc are meaning less to all but those who have faith. Faith is your problem not mine

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  141. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    As I have stated religious beliefs have absolutely no part to play in the governance of this secular country.

    Wrong, making oath has always had a religious component.

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  142. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God,s

    The thing is that the state does not do this, it renders only to Caesar.

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  143. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Well, I don’t see it as a problem – from my perspective, your existentialism is your problem.

    But let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that I agree with your definition of secularism. It leaves plenty of space for the idea of religious freedom, too right? If the state is to be neutral among religions, including irreligion, then do you agree for the non-imposition of your charming brand of nihilism on individuals, families and groups who do espouse religion?

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  144. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    UT – well I kind of agree with that. People tend to disregard the fact that freedom of religion laws were generally enacted to protect religion from the state.

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  145. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    It hurts nobody to have a daily reminder in Parliament of that heritage, and of the good Christian values by which we should all be governed, even if we do not profess Christian faith. There is no such thing as a vacuum of morality, only good morality and bad morality. The prayer reinforces the good, and should be kept.

    Without recognition of the actual values it is only lip service.

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  146. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    I just goggled the meaning of oath :oops:

    Substitute affirmation for oath if it rings your bell

    Fidelity is the quality of being faithful or loyal
    An affirmation is a solemn declaration allowed to those who conscientiously object to taking an oath. An affirmation has exactly the same legal effect as an oath, but is usually taken to avoid the religious implications of an oath; it is thus legally binding but not considered a religious oath.

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  147. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    So people are allowed to affirm things, Griff? Are they also allowed to swear an oath?

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  148. questlove (242 comments) says:

    however when you start applying specific attributes to god/s then you can investigate whether it is a possibility. In such a case the Christian god, again – for example, cannot logically exist as described.

    Yes!!

    Tens of thousands of children die from starvation each day. Thousands are abused both physically and sexually. Every day.

    Clearly they’re not praying right.

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  149. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    Cato what you do in the privacy of you own space is not my business.
    Ethic of reciprocity.
    The governance of this country is my business that’s why its called a democracy.

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  150. Monique Angel (251 comments) says:

    Totally with uglyTruth.
    You need that reminder of the importance of exercising individual conscience.
    If you get rid of the prayer you’d possibly find the whole business of Parliament very quickly resembling a teachers union meeting.

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  151. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    Though that freedom applies outside of my own home, right? Including access to public spaces, facilities and amenities?

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  152. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    The rule of law is a part of democracy and it is also inherently theistic. A secular democracy is a democracy in name only.

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  153. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    Totally with uglyTruth.

    Probably not politically coreect to say that here. I’m not Mr Popularity on KB LOL

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  154. Reid (15,917 comments) says:

    The governance of this country is my business that’s why its called a democracy.

    It’s actually our business, Griff. And pray tell, exactly how do you see the 20 second opening prayer interfering with our business?

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  155. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    Privacy of you own space
    Freedom of speech…… I will not stop you from preaching in public just dont do a jake 5 when I reply and dont expect me to respect your message or allow you to infringe on my rights.

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  156. Cato (1,094 comments) says:

    So if I am a religious person who is also in business would you let me run my business in accordance with my religious beliefs?

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  157. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    @UglyTruth. Well, I don’t find you personally offensive, UT. I would miss your totally bizarre view of the world. Incidentally I don’t dismiss what you say out-of-hand. Some commenters I never read. I don’t mind playing with Redblatherer. He needs us; it’s nice to feel wanted.

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  158. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    @Cato. Yes, if you run a small business (that doesn’t employ the public perhaps) I think you should be free to run it anyway you like. If that means refusing to put queers in the same bed or welcoming Catholics or Maoris only or whatever, I don’t why the state should interfere.

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  159. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    Reid I find the inclusion of irrational behavior in the government beyond reason. Starting the day with this when most of us dont expect the government to obey god or beg him for any thing

    Almighty God, humbly/ Acknowledging our need for guidance from rational thought in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we strive conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to uphold to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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  160. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    Acknowledging our need for guidance from rational thought in all things,

    Hang on, doesn’t that marginalise the drug users? Can’t have that discrimination, surely…

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  161. Griff (6,706 comments) says:

    You have a better starting point for governance than rational thought bhudson?
    I do also support the compulsory drug testing for mp’s when the house is in session. Zero tolerance for any thing not proscribed by a doctor. Drunk in charge of our country is unacceptable.

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  162. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    Acknowledging our need for guidance from rational thought in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we strive [to] conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to uphold the maintenance of justice and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand.

    So what is wrong with true religion, Griff? What you have just described is much like a secular version of common law.

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  163. big bruv (13,218 comments) says:

    Do away with it. Pass legislation that means that it cannot be replaced with anything else from the stone age either.

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  164. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Our parliamentarians can just hum the following hymn without singing it. It will give them an upbeat for their day’s work ahead.

    All Hail

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  165. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    Thanks, Falafulu Fisi. Even I would be prepared to hum that. Powerful. Wonderful.

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  166. Left Right and Centre (2,819 comments) says:

    Bible-bumming boardroom meeting of skyman’s greatest living-dead cheerleaders in here.

    :) :) :) :)

    MP prayer… time for it to go. It’s not an entire nation of deadhead driptard bible-bummers anymore.

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  167. UglyTruth (3,956 comments) says:

    The really funny thing about this is that the difference between law and rules in the original sense is that law involves things that are ordained, but rules do not.

    So the current situation is that a bunch of hypocrites are calling their rules “law” at the same time as the refuse to acknowledge the ordained law, effectively promoting the state as “god”.

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  168. KiwiInBruzban (1 comment) says:

    I would have thought that Matthew 6: 5-9 would answer it for all biblical Christians. It says something about not engaging in public prayer like those nasty pagans.

    Let’s get rid of that dirge of an anthem while we are at it.

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