In dog we trust

I attended a Lismore Council meeting the other night and enjoyed basking in the warmth of democracy in action. It had been a long time since my last visit to the public gallery and I had forgotten about the strange anachronism that is council prayers. The whole chamber went quiet whilst the mayor led the prayer. I stood there mildly shocked and embarrassed. Um, I'm an atheist - am I supposed to just bow my head and go along with this religious intrusion into secular life? The ratbag in me felt like speaking up; "God here, how can I help?". But I decided that this would cause needless offence to the few believers in the room.

The latest research shows that something like 90% of people are not religious or do not bother to actually attend places of worship where prayers are said. There's also the vibe thing; Section 116 of the Australian Constitution states that the "Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance". Surely this is something that council might consider as a guide when considering imposing a Christian observance?

Perhaps a sharing of the love, with council rotating demographically through Australia's different religions; in the name of Allah, most merciful, Almighty Yahweh, Om Shanti... But then in the Northern Rivers we have so many more esoteric beliefs, including astrology devotees, so how about a hymn to the planetary ruler of the month in which the council meets?

Homer supplies many suitable verses for each solar deity. But for my money, I don't think you can go past the canine as divine being. They rule the roost in our house: best chair, best tucker, walkies on demand and open car window even if the humans would prefer otherwise. So perhaps for the next council meeting we should all bow our heads and recite: "in Dog we trust".

Angela Pollard


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