In December, we started recruiting volunteers to help transcribe every daily prayer said in the BC Legislature since 2003.
Together, we transcribed 871 prayers delivered in the BC Legislature from 2003 to the present. The team comprised 52 volunteers from across the province (and beyond) and we accomplished this amazing feat in a month and a half.
To our knowledge, no comprehensive study of prayers in the BC Legislature (or any Canadian provincial legislature) has been conducted. This is largely due to the fact that the content of prayers is not readily available. Because there are no transcriptions of prayers, we cannot easily analyze them for content; for example whether or not they represent a specific religious tradition, or their level of religiosity in general, or if one particular religious tradition is over-represented.
Our goal is to provide a greater understanding of the nature of prayer in the BC Legislature. It is our hope that in better understanding the content of the prayers themselves we will be able to explore whether or not this practice should continue. Video recordings of the proceedings of the BC Legislature began in October 2003.
I am very excited to begin the process of analyzing the prayers; this will be ongoing and will likely carry over into the summer. The analysis will be used in a number of outcomes. I will be using it to write an academic article that will be submitted for peer review. The BC Humanists will use it in a range of communications efforts. Once we have completed these tasks, the data-set will be made freely available to the public.
Thank you again for all of your help, it was a fantastic effort!
I hope that this work will get us a little further along the path to separating religion from government.