LETTER: Chilliwack-Kent MLA does not want prayer in the Legislature eliminated

Laurie Throness willing to amend practice to be called “prayers or reflections” to be more inclusive

Because the issue of prayer in the Legislature could become a topic of discussion as the House sits again on Oct. 7, I want to let my constituents know my views on this topic.

Above all, our Legislature is a representative institution that must represent, or mirror, the views of British Columbians. That’s the meaning of democracy. Society is becoming more secular and the Legislature is reflecting that change. However, there are well over a million people of faith in B.C., and the Peoples’ House needs to reflect their beliefs, too. As a Christian myself, I do not want my right to pray in public to be eroded.

If we really value diversity in B.C., we will welcome people of all worldviews, including humanist as well as religious worldviews. This diversity is reflected in prayers that are actually given. Some are Christian prayers, some are Sikh, Muslim or other prayers. Some are not prayers at all, but reflections by people who do not consider themselves to be religious. I welcome these expressions along with my own.

It is not tolerant to push people of faith to the margins of our culture. Just as I accept atheists and humanists, so atheists and humanists should accept me. Tolerance means that we accept each other, whether from a humanist or a religious perspective, welcoming each other into the mainstream of society.

Religion is one of the “original freedoms,” as the Supreme Court has said, so religious toleration is essential in a free and democratic country. Religious intolerance is a classic characteristic of countries that are neither free nor democratic.

Representative, diverse and tolerant — that’s what I want my Legislature to be.

Finally, while I will continue to support a few moments of reflection at the beginning of every sitting day, which I think is a healthy practice for anyone, I would not oppose amending the Standing Orders to introduce the House with “Prayers or Reflections” instead of prayers alone, just to make sure everyone is included.

Laurie Throness

MLA Chilliwack-Kent

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

DOK seeks help stopping plant thieves

Suspicious behaviour should be reported to local RCMP

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Emergency crews respond to ATV rollover near Harrison

ATV rolled over on or near Harrison East Forest Service Road near Harrison Hot Springs

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Cubs rescued, hunter fined after sow shot in Skagit Valley

Officers opt for fines, as hefty punishment could prevent hunter cooperation in future

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read