Posted June 3, 2013
As a society, we have held a sacred trust in the power of the Almighty. But not all people adhere to the basic Christian beliefs that have affected our lives since the creation of our country.
Indeed, in 1867, at the beginning of Confederation, there were few Jews, East Indians, Blacks, Agnostics or Atheists existent in the new world.
We were founded by a group of Christian white men. Diversity of our nation was an event that took years to develop. In fact more than 100 years.
Yet today the powerful Christian-based lobbies, operated by a wide-ranging collection of those espousing their particular form of Christian worship and adherence, dominates our institutions both public and private.
Canada has become a country with a diverse population. The Christian-based organized religious are fast become the minority. Yet they maintain a solid base of influence among politicians and business leaders.
One does not have to look too far to see how the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec has been seriously diminished to the point of being a mere shadow of its former self.
Guelph is an example of a city that enjoys a wide diversity of cultures and religions.
Yet, prayer, Christian prayer, is the religion du jour at city council and other events both public and private.
In a recent column the author, Keith Knight, Executive Director of the Canadian Christian Business Federation, touted the upcoming “Civic Leadership Prayer Breakfast” to be held this fall in the city.
It will be interesting to see how many city staff including police, fire and EMS attend this prayer breakfast at public expense.
In a self-serving twist, Knight complained the event should be titled: “The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” that he claims is the case in most other Canadian cities. In one of her better moves, Mayor Farbridge dodged that one understanding her electorate is diverse and she cannot espouse supporting one religion over another.
Prayer plays an important role in many lives. The growing number of people who are turning away from organized religion’s dogma and rituals is self evident as churches empty and congregations seek other means of belief in God, or not.
The Prayer Breakfast event will include guest speaker Herta Von Stiegel, who is a leadership motivator. She extols her experience leading 29 climbers up Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa that included seven physically or mentally challenged persons.
Speaking of her exhilaration of reaching the top of the mountain, and wanting to linger there for a long time, she warns of the danger of staying at the top too long as it can deprive you of oxygen.
Does that sound prophetic when it comes to the 2014 civic elections?
To paraphrase the Tina Turner hit: “What’s prayer got to do with it?”