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Purging parliament: a new christian politics in Papua New Guinea?

CollectionsANU Dept. of Pacific Affairs (DPA) formerly State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program
Title: Purging parliament: a new christian politics in Papua New Guinea?
Author(s): Eves, Richard
Haley, Nicole
May, Ronald
Cox, John
Gibbs, Philip
Merlan, Francesca
Rumsey, Alan
Keywords: Papua New Guinea
religious fundamentalism
national identity
Date published: 2014
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM), Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Discussion Paper (The Australian National University, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Program): 2014/1
In November and December 2013, a controversy erupted in Papua New Guinea when the speaker of the national parliament, Theodore Zurenuoc, a devout Christian, tried to rid Parliament House of what he described as ‘ungodly images and idols’. Zurenuoc had already begun by removing the carvings from a lintel above the entrance to Parliament House, but planned to remove many more carvings throughout the building. His plans were strongly opposed, and considerable debate was generated in the two national newspapers and in social media. Those who opposed him saw him as a ‘religious fundamentalist’ and his actions as ‘sacrilege’ and ‘cultural terrorism’,1 while those who supported Zurenuoc’s plans saw him as a ‘God-fearing’, ‘modern-day Reformer’ and ‘God’s anointed vessel’. Despite the protests, which included a number of high-profile critics, and the intercession of the prime minister, the speaker was unrepentant, vowing to continue his work until there were ‘no traces of elements of cult and demonic worship in the national parliament of PNG’ (Evara 2013). (First paragraph of paper)
ISSN: 1328-7854


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