News today that the Speaker of the House the Hon David Carter is considering changes to the Parliamentary prayer. The NZ Herald reports the decision about a change could be as early as next week. This in spite of no public debate about the issue.
Parliament belongs to all New Zealanders. These sorts of changes may seem minor to some, but they are not. They are decisions about our national identity – about the foundational values that define who we are. In this context, the rituals and symbols of Parliament are important cultural touchstones. Changes to them should not be made lightly. They should certainly not be made after a short consultation with a few MPs and no public input.
What is even more disappointing however, is the continual drive to expunge all traces of Christianity from our culture. This move comes at a time when we are about to celebrate 200 years since Te Harinui, glad tidings of great joy, was first preached on these shores. The bicentenary of Samuel Marsden’s famous service at Rangihoua on Christmas Day 1814 is just two weeks away. This is a time we should be reflecting on our spiritual heritage with gratitude – not seeking to further secularise our nation.
Indeed we wouldn’t even have the nation we enjoy today were it not for the influence that Christianity had on early New Zealand. Te Harinui completely transformed these islands and laid the foundation for the Treaty (refer my ODT article from Waitangi Day this year). The secularists may not like it but the historical reality is that New Zealand was birthed out of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is in our spiritual DNA.
So rather than trying to deny who we really are, our MPs should take the opportunity to honour the One whose influence helped establish constitutional government and Parliamentary democracy in our land. That would be the most fitting response to the upcoming milestone in our nation’s journey.
Email Hon David Carter and your MP – Parliament contact list