Monday, 11 February 2013

When an ecumenical service is not sufficiently pagan...

Today is the day of the ecumenical service organized by ACT House of Assembly speaker Vicki Dunne to mark the start of the parliamentary year in Canberra.

God and Caesar!

You might recall from my earlier story that this is a first for the Australian Capital Territory: in all the years of self-government of our nation's capital, no one has ever before bothered to organise any kind of religious ceremony for our elected representatives.

Given that Labor and the sole Green have refused to attend the event on the grounds that it confuses the roles of Church and State, one can perhaps understand why.

Christian solidarity and political correctness

Unfortunately even the Churches and religions can't seem to get their act together in countering this kind of extreme secularism, because the Canberra Times story on the event today is an announcement that the Uniting Church plans to boycott the event because it claims it is not sufficiently inter-faith in approach.

The problem, it appears, is that the service will actually use a Christian liturgy.

Despite that, according to the media report, Canberra's Bahai, Tibetan Buddhist and Jewish communities all agreed to take part.

Hmm, there are one or two religions notably missing from this list.  Now this may just be the reporting of the issue, but it would certainly be understandable if Muslims and Hindus had declined.  After all, like Catholics (at least in theory, JPII at Assisi and such like abuses not withstanding), Muslims in particular don't actually believe we are all necessarily praying to the same God!

Unlike, it would seem the Uniting Church (once was Presbyterians, Methodists and others). The Uniting Church's complaints apparently include that the event has become too politicized, and that the chair of the local Inter-faith Forum, Mr Sabu-Khan (a Muslim) didn't get an invite (according to the organizers, this was not an intended slight).

Should have stuck to organizing a Mass for the Catholic majority of the liberal Members of the House of Assembly...

Meanwhile the entertaining internal ructions in the local liberal party (whoever thought only the Labor Party engaged in branch stacking, factionalism, backstabbing and sharp practice!) over the attempt to unseat the ACT's liberal Senator, Gary Humphries, continues...

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