12/12/2013 05:25

Save the House of Parliament! Reject PNG religious fundamentalism!

By Fr Giorgio Licini
Catholic Reporter

PNG House Speaker Theo Zurenuoc these days is purging the House of Parliament of carvings and decorations that in his opinion are not worthy of a Christian country. According to press reports, he is doing it of his own authority and inspired by evangelical pastors. I wonder if anybody else could be allowed similar acts. What if the manager of the airport decides to shut down radar control; or the governor of Madang to remove the bulb of the Kalibobo lighthouse; or what if the CEO of PNG Power decides that modern electricity contradicts forty thousand years of traditional bonfires?

What’s happening to the Parliament building is really ridiculous if true that behind the move are fundamentalist Christians who cannot distinguish between the novelty of the Gospel and what of the past needs to be preserved and treasured as least for collective and historical memory.

These people seem to act regardless of the opinion on scholars and anthropologists. They are probably the same who run against the times (all the times) by trying to ban other religious practices by law, thus criminalizing people for their beliefs. But Christians have enough of this unfair treatment in China and North Korea, in many parts of the Middle East and even India, and elsewhere. Why retaliate in PNG?

PNG citizens should be aware of the rising religious fundamentalism. It sprouts from a mix of arrogance and insecurity, ignorance and cargo cult. Politicians should not court these movements. Listen rater to traditional educated and well grounded pastors, priests and bishops of the mainstream churches. They will criticize you from time to time. But they will do it for the good of the country. And your good!